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Full text of "The Yosemite"

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THE YOSEMITE 



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Yosemite Fall 



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THE YOSEMITE 



BY JOHN MUIR 



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NEW YORK 

THE CENTURY CO. 

MCMXII 



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THE NEW YORK 

PUBUC LIBRARY 

536786 

TW-DfcH FOUHOaTION*. 
R 1912 ^ 



Copyright, 1912, by 
The Century Co. 

PubUahed, April, 1912 



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AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED 
TO MY FRIEND, 

ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON, 

FAITHFUL 

LOVER AND DEFENDER 

OF OUR GLORIOUS FORESTS 

AND ORIGINATOR OF 

THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK. 



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CONTENTS 



PAOI 

L THE APPROACH TO THE VALLEY .... 3 

IL WINTER STORMS AND SPRING FLOODS . . 61 

in. SNOW STORMS 61 

IV. SNOW BANNERS 70 

V. THE TREES OF THE VALLEY 87 

VI. THE FOREST TREES IN GENERAL .... 93 

VIL THE BIG TREES 127 

Vin. THE FLOWERS 148 

IX. THE BIRDS 168 

X. THE SOUTH DOME 166 

XI. THE ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS: HOW 

THE VALLEY WAS FORMED 173 

XIL HOW BEST TO SPEND YOUR YOSEMITE TIME 196 

Xm. LAMON 237 

XIV. GALEN CLARK 240 

XV. HETCH HETCHY VALLEY 249 

APPENDICES 268 

INDEX 276 

Til 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Yosemite Fall Froimspieoe 

TACnXQ pAcn 

Administrative Map of Yoeemite National Park ... 12 

Yosemite Valley from Artist's Point 20 

Cathedral Rocks and Cathedral Spires aa seen aoroes 
Meroed River 29 

Vernal Fall S6 

Nevada Fall — Bide View 45 

Vernal Fall 62 

Yosemite Valley in a Snowstorm 01 

The Three Brothers 68 

Looking down Yosemite from the Slope of Clouds' Rest . 77 

Looking up Tenaya Cafion from Glacier Point — Mt. Hoff- 
man, covered with* snow, to the left 84 

The Mariposa Grove 98 

Fern Gardens and Oak Groves of Hetch-Hetchy Valley . 101 
[Photographed by J. W. Le Oonte.] 

Sentinel Rock, from the Glacier Point Trail 108 

North Dome — Royal Arches — Washington Column — 
Merced River 117 

Mirror Lake, Mt. Watkins and Slopes of Clouds' Rest . . 124 

The Half Dome, Clouds' Rest Beyond 132 

The Three Brothers — the left-hand one. Eagle Peak, is 

the highest 141 

iz 



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M' 



X LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS 

vAonro PAOi 
Lookiiig down the Valley from the Glacier Point Trail . 148 
Sentinel Rock Cathedral Rocks El Gapitan 

Jjocking up Tenaya Cafion from the Trail to Glacier Point 157 

Echo Peaks on the trail from the Yosemite Vall^ to the 
Tuolumne Meadows 164 

Slope of Mt. Dana and Lake Tioga, Tuolumne Meadows . 173 

El Gapitan 180 

One of the Great Cascades with water whirls — near the 

upper end of Tuolumne Cafion 189 

[Photogrsphed hj W. L. Huber.J 

G^n Lake near Mt. Ritter 197 

Looking up Hetch-Hetchy Valley from Surprise Point . . 204 
[Photogrsphed hj Tsber, Ssn Francisco.] 

A River View across the lower end of Tuolumne Meadows . 209 
[Photographed by George B. King.] 

Travel-Guide Map of the Yosemite Valley 212«-«^ 

Travel-Guide Map of the Yosemite National Park . . . 220^^ 

Mt. Lyell and Glacier 224 

The Park-like floor of Hetch-Hetchy Valley 229 

The Mariposa Grove 236 

Hetch-Hetchy Valley 246 

Tueeulala and Wapama Falls, Hetch-Hetchy Valley . . 252 

View of the Hetch-Hetchy Valley 260 

[Xzeept in a few instancea, photograph! for the abore illastrationa 
were furnished by The PiUsbury Picture Oc] 



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THE YOSEMITE 



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THE YOSEMITE 

I 

THE AFPBOACH TO THE VALLEY 

WHEN I set out on the long excursion that 
finally led to California I wandered afoot and 
alone, from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico, with a 
plant-press on my back, holding a generally south- 
ward course, like the birds when they are going from 
summer to winter. From the west coast of Florida 
I crossed the gulf to Cuba, enjoyed the rich tropical 
flora there for a few months^ intending to go thence 
to the north end of South America, make my way 
through the woods to the headwaters of the Amazon, 
and float down that grand river to the ocean* But 
I was unable to find a ship bound for South America 
— fortunately perhaps, for I had incredibly little 
money for so long a trip and had not yet fully re- 
covered from a fever caught in the Florida swamps. 
Therefore I decided to visit California for a year or 
two to see its wonderful flora and the famous Yosem- 
ite Valley. All the world was before me and every 



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4 THE YOSEMITE 

day was a holiday^ so it did not seem important to 
which one of the world's wildernesses I first should 
wander. 

Arriving by the Panama steamer^ I stopped one 
day in San Francisco and then inquired for the near- 
est way out of town. " But where do you want to 
go ? '' asked the man to whom I had applied for this 
important inf ormation« " To any place that is wild/' 
I said. This reply startled him. He seemed to 
fear I might be crazy and therefore the sooner I was 
out of town the better, so he directed me to the Oak- 
land ferry. 

So on the first of April, 1868, I set out afoot for 
Yosemite. It was the bloom-time of the year over the 
lowlands and coast ranges; the landscapes of the 
Santa Clara Valley were fairly drenched with sun- 
shine, all the air was quivering with the songs of the 
meadow-larks, and the hills were so covered with flow- 
ers that they seemed to be painted. Slow indeed was 
my progress through these glorious gardens, the first 
of the California flora I had seen. Cattle and culti- 
vation were making few scars as yet, and I wancfered 
enchanted in long wavering curves, knowing by my 
pocket map that Yosemite Valley lay to the east and 
that I should surely find it. 



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THE SIERRA FROM THE WEST 



THE SIEBBA FBOM THE WEST 

Looking eastward from the summit of the Pacheco 
Pass one shining mornings a landscape was displayed 
that after all my wanderings still appears as the most 
beautiful I have ever beheld. At my feet lay the 
Great Central Valley of California, level and flowery, 
like a lake of pure sunshine, forty or fifty miles wide, 
five hundred miles long, one rich furred garden of 
yellow Compo8it(jB. And from the eastern boundary 
of this vast golden flower-bed rose the mighty Sierra, 
nules in height, and so gloriously colored and so 
radiant, it seemed not clothed with light, but wholly 
composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city. 
Along the top and extending a good way down, was 
a rich pearl-gray belt of snow; below it a belt of 
blue and dark purple, marking the extension of the 
forests; and stretching along the base of the range 
a broad belt of rose-purple ; all these colors, from the 
blue sky to the yellow valley smoothly blending as 
they do in a rainbow, making a wall of light ineffably 
fine. Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should 
be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the 
Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering 
and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its 
glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morn- 
ing streaming through the passes, the noonday radi- 



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» THE YOSEMITE 

ance on the crystal rocks^ the flush of the alpenglow, 
and the irised spray of countless waterfalls^ it still 
seems above all others the Sange of Li^t 

In general views no mark of man is visible upon 
it; nor anything to suggest the wonderful depth and 
grandeur of its sculpture. None of its magnificent 
forestrcrowned ridges seems to rise much above the 
general level to publish its wealth. No great valley 
or river is seen, or group of well-marked features of 
any kind standing out as distinct pictures. Even 
the summit peaks, marshaled in glorious array so 
high in the sky, seem comparatively r^ular in form. 
Nevertheless the whole range five hundred miles long 
is furrowed with cafions 2,000 to 5,000 feet deep, in 
which once flowed majestic glaciers, and in which 
now flow and sing the bright rejoicing rivers. 

CHARACTERISTICS OP THE CANONS 

Though of such stupendous depth, these cafions are 
not gloomy gorges, savage and inaccessible. With 
rough passages here and there they are flowery path- 
ways conducting to the snowy, icy fountains ; moun- 
tain streets full of life and light, graded and 
sculptured by the ancient glaciers, and presenting 
throughout all their courses a rich variety of novel 
and attractive scenery — the most attractive that has 



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INCOMPARABLE TOSEMITE t 

jet been disoovered in the mountain ranges of the 
world. In many places^ especially in the middle re- 
gion of the western flank^ the main canons widen into 
spadons valleys or parks diversified like landscape 
gardens with meadows and groves and thickets of 
blooming bushes, while the lofty walls, infinitely 
varied in form, are fringed with ferns, flowering 
plants, shrubs of many species, and tall evergreens 
and oaks that find footholds on small benches and 
tables, all enlivened and made glorious with rejoicing 
streams that come chanting in chorus over the cliffs 
and through side canons in falls of every conceivable 
form, to join the river that flows in tranquil, shining 
beauty down the middle of each one of them. 



THE INCOMPARABLE TOSEMITE 

The most famous and accessible of these canon 
valleys, and also the one that presents their most strik- 
ing and sublime features on the grandest scale, is 
the Yosemite, situated in the basin of the Merced 
River at an elevation of 4000 feet above the level of 
the sea. It is about seven miles long, half a mile 
to a mile wide, and nearly a mile deep in the solid 
granite flank of the range. The walls are made up 
of rocks, motmtains in size, partly separated from 
each other by side canons, and they are so sheer in 



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8 THE YOSEMITE 

fronts and bo compactly and harmoniously arranged 
on a level floor, that the Valley, comprehensively 
seen, looks like an immense hall or temple lighted 
from above. 

But no temple made with hands can compare with 
Tosemite/ Every rock in its walls seems to glow 
with life. Some lean back in majestic repose ; others, 
absolutely sheer or nearly so for thousands of feet, 
advance beyond their companions in thoughtful atti- 
tudes, giving welcome to storms and calms alike, 
seemingly aware, yet heedless, of everything going 
on about them. Awful in stem, immovable majesty, 
how softly these rocks are adorned, and how fine 
and reassuring the company they keep: their feet 
among beautiful groves and meadows, their brows 
in the sky, a thousand flowers leaning confidingly 
against their feet, bathed in floods of water, floods of 
light, while the snow and waterfalls, the winds and 
avalanches and clouds shine and sing and wreathe 
about them as the years go by, and myriads of small 
winged creatures — birds, bees, butterflies — give 
glad animation and help to make all the air into 
music. Down through the middle of the Valley 
flows the crystal Merced, Kiver of Mercy, peacefully 
quiet, reflecting lilies and trees and the onlooking 
rocks; things frail and fleeting and types of endur- 
ance meeting here and blending in countless forms, 
as if into this one mountain mansion Mature had 



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APPROACH TO THE VALLEY 9 

gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers 
into dose and confiding communion with her. 



THE APPROACH TO THE VALLEY 

Sauntering np the foothills to Yosemite by any of 
the old trails or roads in use before the railway was 
boilt from the town of Merced up the river to the 
boundary of Yosemite Park, richer and wilder be- 
come the forests and streams. At an elevation of 
6000 feet above the level of the sea the silver firs are 
200 feet high, with branches whorled around the 
colossal shafts in regular order, and every branch 
beautifully primate like a fern frond. The Doug- 
las spruce, the yellow and sugar pines and brown- 
barked Libocedrus here reach their finest develop- 
ments of beauty and grandeur. The majestic Se- 
quoia is here, too, the king of conifers, the noblest of 
all the noble race. These colossal trees are as won- 
derful in fineness of beauty and proportion as in 
stature — an assemblage of conifers surpassing all 
that have ever yet been discovered in the forests of 
the world. Here indeed is the tree-lover^s paradise ; 
the woods, dry and wholesome, letting in the light in 
shinmiering masses of half sunshine, half shade; the 
night air as well as the day air indescribably spicy 
and exhilarating; plushy fir-boughs for campers' beds, 



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10 THE YOSEMITE 

and cascades to sing us to sleep. On the highest 
ridges, over which these old Yosemite ways passed, 
the silver fir (Ahies magnifica) forms the bulk of 
the woods, pressing forward in glorious array to the 
very brink of the Valley walls on both sides, and be- 
yond the Valley to a height of from 8000 to 9000 
feet above the level of the sea. Thus it appears that 
Yosemite, presenting such stupendous faces of bare 
granite, is nevertheless imbedded in magnificent for- 
ests, and the main species of pine, fir, spruce and 
libocedrus are also found in the Valley itself, but 
there are no " big trees " (Sequoia gigantea) in the 
Valley or about the rim of it The nearest are 
about ten and twenty miles beyond the lower end 
of the valley on small tributaries of the Merced and 
Tuolumne Bivera. 



THE FIBST VIEW : THE BRIDAL "VEIL 

From the margin of these glorious forests the first 
general view of the Valley used to be gained — a 
revelation in landscape affairs that enriches one's 
life forever. Entering the Valley, gazing over- 
whelmed with the multitude of grand objects about 
us, perhaps the first to fix our attention will be the 
Bridal Veil; a beautiful waterfall on our right Its 



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THE BRIDAL VEIL 11 

brow, where it first leaps free from the diflf, is about 
900 feet above us ; and as it sways and ^ngs in the 
wind, dad in gauzy, sun-sifted spray, half falling, 
half floating, it seems infinitely gentle and fine ; but 
the hymns it sings tell the solemn fateful power hid- 
den beneath its soft clothing. 

The Bridal Veil shoots free from the upper edge 
of the cliff by the velocity the stream has acquired in 
descending a long slope above the head of the falL 
Looking from the top of the rock-avalanche talus on 
the west side, about one hundred feet above the foot 
of the fall, the under surface of the water arch is 
seen to be finely grooved and striated; and the sky 
• is seen through the arch between rock and water, 
making a novel and beautiful effect. 

Under ordinary weather conditions the fall strikes 
on flatrtopped slabs, forming a kind of ledge about 
two-thirds of the way down from the top, and as the 
fall sways back and forth with great variety of mo- 
tions among these flat-topped pillars, kissing and 
plashing notes as well as thimder-like detonations 
are produced, like those of the Yosemite Eall, though 
on a smaller scale. 

The rainbows of the Veil, or rather the spray- and 
foam-bows, are superb, because the waters are dashed 
among angular blocks of granite at the foot, pro- 
ducing abundance of spray of the best quality for 



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la THE YOSEMITE ^ 

iris effects, and also for a luxuriant growth of grass \^ 
and maiden-hair on the side of the talus, which lower * 
down is planted with oak, laurel and willows. , 

GENERAL FEATUBES OP THE VALLEY ^, 

On the other side of the Valley, almost immedi- 
ately opposite the Bridal Veil, there is another fine 
fall, considerably wider than the Veil when the 
snow is melting fast and more than 1000 feet in 
height, measured from the brow of the diff where 
it first springs out into the air to the head of the 
rocky talus on which it strikes- and is broken up into 
ragged cascadfesi ' It is called the Ribbon Fall or 
Virgin's Tears. ^During the spring floods it is a 
magnificent object, but the JwrfFocating blasts of spray 
that fill the recess an th^ wall which it occupies pre- 
vent a near approach. In autunm, however, when 
its feeble current falls in a shower, it may then pass 
for tears with the sentimental onlooker fresh from a 
visit to the Bridal VeiL 

Just beyond this glorious flood the El Capitan 
Bock, r^arded by many as the most sublime feature 
of the Valley, is seen through the pine groves, stand- 
ing forward beyond the general line of the wall in 
most imposing grandeur, a type of permanence. It 
is 3300 feet high, a plain, severely simple, glacier- 



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GENERAL FEATURES 18 

sculptured face of granite^ the end of one of the most 
compact and enduring of the mountain ridges, un- 
rivaled in height and breadth and flawless strength. 

Across the Valley from here, next to the Bridal 
Veil, are the picturesque Cathedral Eocks, nearly 
2700 feet high, making a noble display of fine yet 
massive sculpture. They are closely related to El 
Capitan, having been eroded from the same moun- 
tain ridge by the great Yosemite Glacier when the 
Valley was in process of formation. 

Next to the Cathedral Rocks on the south side 
towers the Sentinel Rock to a height of more than 
3000 feet, a telling monument o£ the glacial period. 

Almost immediately -opposite the Sentinel are the 
Three Brothers, ,an immense mountain mass with 
three gables fronting the Valley, one above another, 
the topmost gable nearly 4000 feet high. They were 
named for three brothers," sons of old Tenaya, the 
Yosemite chief, captured here during the Indian 
War, at the time of the discovery of the Valley in 
1852. 

Sauntering up the Valley through meadow and 
grove, in the company of these majestic rocks, which 
seem to follow us as we advance, gazing, admiring, 
looking for new wonders ahead where all about us 
is so wonderful, the thunder of the Yosemite Eall 
is heard^ and when we arrive in front of the Sentinel 
Bock it is revealed in all its glory from base to sum- 



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14 THE TOSEMITE 

mit> half a mile in height^ and eeeming to spring 
out into the Valley sunshine direct from the sky. 
But even this fall^ perhaps the most wonderful of 
its kind in the world^ cannot at first hold our atten- 
tion, for now the wide upper portion of the Valley 
is displayed to view, with the finely modeled North 
Dome, the Royal Arches and Washington Column on 
our left; Glacier Point, with its massive, magnificent 
sculpture on the right; and in the middle, directly 
in front, looms Tissiack or Half Dome, the most 
beautiful and most sublime of all the wonderful Yo- 
semite rocks, rising in serene majesty from flowery 
groves and meadows to a height of 4750 feet 

THE UPPER OAiJONS 

Here the Valley divides into three branches, the 
Tenaya, Nevada, and Hlilouette Canons, extending 
back into the fountains of the High Sierra, with 
scenery every way worthy the relation they bear to 
Yosemite. 

In the south branch, a mile or two from the main 
Valley, is the Hlilouette Fall, 600 feet high, one of 
the most beautiful of all the Yosemite choir, but to 
most people inaccessible as yet on account of its 
rough, steep, boulder-choked canon. Its principal 
fountains of ice and snow lie in the beautiful and 



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THE UPPER CAf ONS 15 

interesting mountains of the Merced group^ while 
its broad open basin between its fountain mountains 
and canon is noted for the beauty of its lakes and 
forests and magnificent moraines. 

Betuming to the Valley, and going up the north 
branch of Tenaya Canon, we pass between the North 
Dome and Half Dome, and in less than an hour 
come to Mirror Lake, the Dome Cascades, and 
Tenaya Pall. Beyond the Pall, on the north side 
of the canon, is the sublime El Capitan-like rode 
called Mount Watkins; on the south the vast granite 
wave of Clouds' Rest, a mile in height; and between 
them the fine Tenaya Cascade with silvery plumes 
outspread on smooth glacier-polished folds of granite, 
making a vertical descent in all of about 700 feet 

Just beyond the Dome Cascades, on the shoulder of 
Mount Watkins, there is an old trail once used by 
Indians on their way across the range to Mono, but 
in the cafion above this point there is no trail of any 
sort. Between Mount Watkins and Clouds' Best the 
canon is accessible only to mountaineers, and it is 
so dangerous that I hesitate to advise even good 
climbers, anxious to test their nerve and skill, to at- 
tempt to pass through it. Beyond the Cascades no 
great difficulty will be encountered. A succession of 
charming lily gardens and meadows occurs in filled- 
up lake basins among the rock-waves in the bottom 
of the canon, and everywhere the surface of the gran- 



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10 THE TOSEMITE 

ite has a smooth-wiped appearance, and in manj 
places reflects the sunbeams like glass, a phenomenon 
due to glacial action, the canon having been the chan- 
nel of one of the main tributaries of the anci^it Yo- 
semite Glacier. 

About t^L miles aboye the Valley we come to the 
beautiful Tenaya Lake, and here the cafion termi- 
nates. A mile or two above the lake stands the grand 
Sierra Cathedral, a building of one stone, hewn from 
the living rock, with sides, roof, gable, spire and 
ornamental pinnacles, fashioned and finished sym- 
metrically like a work of art, and set on a well- 
graded plateau about 9000 feet high, as if Nature in 
making so fine a building had also been careful that 
it should be finely seen. From every direction its 
peculiar form and graceful, majestic beauty of ex- 
pression never fail to charm. Its hei^t from its 
base to the ridge of the roof is about 2500 feet, and 
among the pinnacles that adorn the front grand views 
may be gained of the upper basins of the Merced and 
Tuolumne Eivers. 

Passing the Cathedral we descend into the delight- 
ful, spacious Tuolumne Valley, from which excur- 
sions may be made to Mounts Dana, Lyell, Bitter, 
Conness, and Mono Lake, and to the many curious 
peaks that rise above the meadows on the south, and 
to the Big Tuolumne Canon, with its glorious abun- 
dance of rocks and falling, gliding, tossing water. 



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NATURAL FEATURES 11 

Eor all these the beautiful meadows near the Soda 
Springs form a delightful center. 

NATUBAL PEATUBES NEAB THE VALLEY 

Returning now to Yosemite and ascending the mid- 
dle or Nevada branch of the Valley, occupied by the 
main Merced River, we come within a few miles to 
the Vernal and Nevada Falls, 400 and 600 feet high, 
pouring their white, rejoicing waters in the midst 
of the most novel and sublime rock scenery to be 
found in all the world. Tracing the river beyond the 
head of the Nevada Fall we are led into the Little 
Yosemite, a valley like the great Yosemite in form, 
sculpture and vegetation. It is about three miles 
long, with walls 1500 to 2000 feet high, cascades 
coming over them, and the river flowing through the 
meadows and groves of the level bottom in tranquil, 
richly-embowered reaches. 

Beyond this Little Yosemite in the main canon, 
there are three other little yosemites, the highest sit- 
uated a few miles below the base of Mount Lyell, at 
an elevation of about 7800 feet above the sea. To 
describe these, with all their wealth of Yosemite 
furniture, and the wilderness of lofty peaks above 
them, the home of the avalanche and treasury of the 
fountain snow, would take us far beyond the bounds 



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18 THE YOSEMITE 

of a single book. Nor can we here consider the for- 
mation of these mountain landscapes — how the crys- 
tal rocks were brought to light by glaciers made up 
of crystal snow, making beauty whose influence is so 
mysterious on every one who sees it 

Of the small glacier lakes so characteristic of these 
upper regions, there are no fewer than sixty-seven in 
the basin of the main middle branch, besides count- 
less smaller pools. In the basin of the lUilouette 
there are sixteen, in the Tenaya basin and its 
branches thirteen, in the Yosemite Creek basin four- 
teen, and in the Pohono or Bridal Veil one, making 
a grand total of one hundred and eleven lakes whose 
waters come to sing at Yosemite. So glorious is the 
background of the great Valley, so harmonious its re- 
lations to its widespreading fountains. 

The same harmony prevails in all the other 
features of the adjacent landscapes. Climbing out 
of the Valley by the subordinate canons, we find the 
ground rising from the brink of the walls: on the 
south side to the fountains of the Bridal Veil Creek, 
the basin of which is noted for the beauty of its 
meadows and its superb forests of silver fir; on the 
north side through the basin of the Yosemite Creek 
to the dividing ridge along the Tuolumne Canon 
and the f oimtains of the Hoffman Bange. 



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DOWN TOSEMITE CREEK 19 



DOWN THE YOSEMITE CREEK 

In general views the Yosemite Creek basin seems 
to be paved with domes and smooth^ whaleback 
masses of granite in every stage of development — 
some showing only their crowns; others rising high 
and free above the girdling forests, singly or in 
groups. Others are developed only on one side, 
forming bold outstanding bosses usually well fringed 
with shrubs and trees, and presenting the polished 
surfaces given them by the glacier that brought them 
into relief. On the upper portion of the basin 
broad moraine beds have been deposited and on these 
fine, thrifty forests are growing. Lakes and 
meadows and small spongy bogs may be found hid- 
ing here and there in the woods or back in the foun- 
tain recesses of Mount Hoffman, while a thousand 
gardens are planted along the banks of the streams. 

All the wide, fan-shaped upper portion of the 
basin is covered with a network of small rills that 
go cheerily on their way to their grand fall in the 
Valley, now flowing on smooth pavements in sheets 
thin as glass, now diving under willows and laving 
their red roots, oozing through green, plushy bogs, 
plashing over small falls and dancing down slanting 
cascades, calming again, gliding through patches 
of smooth glacier meadows with sod of alpine 



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20 THE TOSEMITE 

agrostis mixed with blue and white violets and 
daisies^ breaking, tossing among rough boulders and 
fallen trees, resting in calm pools, flowing together 
until, all united, they go to their fate with stately, 
tranquil gestures like a full-grown river. At the 
crossing of the Mono Trail, about two miles above 
the head of the Yosemite Fall, the stream is nearly 
forty feet wide, and when the snow is melting 
rapidly in the spring it is about four feet deep, 
with a current of two and a half miles an hour. 
This is about the volume of water that forms the 
Fall in May and June when there had been much 
snow the preceding winter; but it varies greatly from 
month to month. The snow rapidly vanishes from 
the open portion of the basin, which faces southward, 
and only a few of the tributaries reach back to 
perennial snow and ice fountains in the shadowy 
amphitheaters on the precipitous northern slopes of 
Mount Hoffman. The total descent made by the 
stream from its highest sources to its confluence with 
the Merced in the Valley is about 6000 feet, while 
the distance is only about ten miles, an average fall 
of 600 feet per mile. The last mile of its course 
lies between the sides of sunken domes and swelling 
folds of the granite that are clustered and pressed 
together like a mass of bossy cumulus clouds. 
Through this shining way Yosemite Creek goes to 
its fate, swaying and swirling with easy, graceful 



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IE MEW YORP. 

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ACron. LPVOX AND 
TiLDtLN FOUNDATIONS. 



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THE YOSEMITE FALL 21 

gestures and singing the last of its mountain songs 
before it reaches the dizzy edge of Yosemite to fall 
2600 feet into another world, where climate, vege- 
tation, inhabitants, all are different. Emerging 
from this last canon the stream glides, in fiat, lace- 
like folds, down a smooth incline into a small pool 
where it seems to rest and compose itself before 
taking the grand plimge. Then calmly, as if leav- 
ing a lake, it slips over the polished lip of the pool 
down another incline and out over the brow of the 
precipice in a magnificent curve thick-sown with 
rainbow spray, 

THE YOSEMITE FALL 

Long ago before I had traced this fine stream 
to its head back of Mount Hoffman, I was eager 
to reach the extreme verge to see how it behaved 
in fiying so far through the air; but after enjoying 
this view and getting safely away I have never ad- 
vised any one to follow my steps. The last incline 
down which the stream journeys so gracefully is so 
steep and smooth one must slip cautiously forward 
on hands and feet alongside the rushing water, 
which so near one^s head is very exciting. But to 
gain a perfect view one must go yet farther, over a 
curving brow to a slight shelf on the extreme brink. 



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22 THE YOSEMITE 

This shelf, formed by the flaking off of a fold of 
granite, is about three inches wide, just wide enough 
for a safe rest for one's heels. To me it seemed 
nerve-trying to slip to this narrow foothold and 
poise on the edge of such a precipice so close to the 
confusing whirl of the waters; and after casting 
longing glances over the shining brow of the fall 
and listening to its sublime psalm, I concluded not 
to attempt to go nearer, but, nevertheless, against rea- 
sonable judgment, I did. Noticing some tufts of ar- 
temisia in a cleft of rock, I filled my mouth with the 
leaves, hoping their bitter taste might help to keep 
caution keen and prevent giddiness. In spite of 
myself I reached the little ledge, got my heels well 
set, and worked sidewise twenty or thirty feet to 
a point close to the out-plunging current Here the 
view is perfectly free down into the heart of the 
bright irised throng of comet-like streamers into which 
the whole ponderous volume of the fall separates, two 
or three hundred feet below the brow. So glorious 
a display of pure wildness, acting at close range 
while cut off from all the world beside, is terribly 
impressive. A less nerve-trying view may be ob- 
tained from a fissured portion of the edge of the 
cliff about forty yards to the eastward of the f alL 
Seen from this point towards noon, in the spring, 
the rainbow on its brow seems to be broken up and 
mingled with the rushing comets until all the fall 



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A WONDERFUL ASCENT 23 

is stained with iris colors, leaving no white water 
visible. This is the best of the safe views from 
above, the huge steadfast rocks, the flying waters, and 
the rainbow light forming one of the most glorious 
pictures conceivable. 

The Yosemite Fall is separated into an upper and 
a lower fall with a series of falls and cascades be- 
tween them, but when viewed in front from the bot- 
tom of the Valley they all appear as one. 

So grandly does this magnificent fall display itself 
from the floor of the Valley, few visitors take the 
trouble to dimb the walls to gain nearer views, una- 
ble to realize how vastly more impressive it is near by 
than at a distance of one or two miles. 



A WONDERFUL ASCENT 

The views developed in a walk up the zigzags of 
the trail leading to the foot of the Upper Fall are 
about as varied and impressive as those displayed 
along the favorite Glacier Point Trail. One rises 
as if on wings. The groves, meadows, fern-flats and 
reaches of the river gain new interest, as if never 
seen before ; all the views changing in a most strik- 
ing manner as we go higher from point to point. 
The foreground also changes every few rods in the 
most surprising manner, although the earthquake 



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24 THE YOSEMITE 

talus and the level bench on the face of the wall 
over which the trail passes seem monotonous and 
commonplace as seen from the bottom of the Valley. 
Up we climb with glad exhilaration, through 
shaggy fringes of laurel, ceanothus, glossy-leaved 
manzanita and live-oak, from shadow to shadow 
across bars and patches of sunshine, the leafy open- 
ings making charming frames for the Valley pic- 
tures beheld through them, and for the glimpses of 
the high peaks that appear in the distance. The 
higher we go the farther we seem to be from the 
siunmit of the vast granite wall. Here we pass a 
projecting buttress whose grooved and rounded sur- 
face tells a plain story of the time when the Valley, 
now filled with sunshine, was filled with ice, when 
the grand old Yosemite Glacier, flowing river-like 
from its distant fountains, swept through it, crush- 
ing, grinding, wearing its way ever deeper, develop- 
ing and fashioning these sublime rocks. Again we 
cross a white, battered gully, the pathway of rock 
avalanches or snow avalanches. Farther on we 
come to a gentle stream slipping down the face of 
the cliff in lace-like strips, and dropping from ledge 
to ledge — too small to be called a fall — tri(^ing, 
dripping, oozing, a pathless wanderer from one of 
the upland meadows lying a little way back of the 
Valley rim, seeking a way century after century 
to the depths of the Valley without any appreciable 



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A WONDERFUL ASCENT 25 

channel. Every morning after a cool night, evapora- 
tion being checked, it gathers strength and sings like 
a bird, but as the day advances and the sun strikes 
its thin currents outspread on the heated precipices, 
most of its waters vanish ere the bottom of the Valley 
is reached. Many a fine, hanging-garden aloft on 
breezy inaccessible heights owes to it its freshness 
and fullness of beauty; ferneries in shady nooks, 
filled with Adiantum, Woodwardia, Woodsia, Aspid- 
ium, Pellaea, and Cheilanthes, rosetted and tufted 
and ranged in lines, daintily overlapping, thatching 
the stupendous cliffs with softest beauty, some of the 
delicate fronds seeming to float on the warm moist 
air, without any connection with rock or stream. 
Nor is there any lack of colored plants wherever they 
can find a place to cling to; lilies and mints, the 
showy cardinal mimulus, and glowing cushions of 
the golden bahia, enlivened with butterflies and bees 
and all the other small, happy humming creatures 
that belong to them. 

After the highest point on the lower division of 
the trail is gained it leads up into the deep recess 
occupied by the great fall, the noblest display of 
falling water to be found in the Valley, or perhaps 
in the world. When it first comes in sight it seems 
almost within reach of one's hand, so great in the 
spring is its volimie and velocity, yet it is still 
nearly a third of a mile away and appears to recede 



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26 THE YOSEMITE 

as we advance. The sculpture of the walls about 
it is on a scale of grandeur, according nobly with 
the fall — plain and massive, though elaborately fin- 
ished, like all the other cliffs about the Valley. 

In the afternoon an immense shadow is cast 
athwart the plateau in front of the fall, and over 
the chaparral bushes that clothe the slopes and 
benches of the walls to the eastward, creeping upward 
until the fall is wholly overcast, the contrast between 
the shaded and illumined sections being very strik- 
ing in these near views. 

Under this shadow, during the cool centuries im- 
mediately following the breaking-up of the Glacial 
Period, dwelt a small residual glacier, one of the 
few that lingered on this sun-beaten side of the 
Valley after the main trunk glacier had vanished. 
It sent down a long winding current through the 
narrow canon on the west side of the fall, and must 
have formed a striking feature of the ancient scenery 
of the Valley; the lofty fall of ice and fall of water 
side by side, yet separate and distinct. 

The coolness of the afternoon shadow and the 
abundant dewy spray make a fine climate for the 
plateau ferns and grasses, and for the beautiful 
azalea bushes that grow here in profusion and bloom 
in September, long after the warmer thickets down 
on the floor of the Valley have withered and gone to 



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A WONDERFUL ASCENT 27 

seed. Even close to the f all^ and behind it at the base 
of the cliff, a few venturesome plants may be found 
undisturbed by the rock-shaking torrent. 

The basin at the foot of the fall into which the 
current directly pours, when it is not swayed by the 
wind, is about ten feet deep and fifteen to twenty 
feet in diameter. That it is not much deeper is 
surprising, when the great height and force of the 
fall is considered. But the rock where the water 
strikes probably suffers less erosion than it would 
were the descent less than half as great, since the 
current is outspread, and much of its force is spent 
ere it reaches the bottom — being received on the 
air as upon an elastic cushion, and borne outward 
and dissipated over a surface more than fifty yards 
wide. 

This surface, easily examined when the water is 
low, is intensely clean and fresh looking. It is the 
raw, quick flesh of the mountain wholly untouched 
by the weather. In summer droughts, when the 
snowfall of the preceding winter has been light, the 
fall is reduced to a mere shower of separate drops 
without any obscuring spray. Then we may safely 
go back of it and view the crystal shower from be- 
neath, each drop wavering and pulsing as it makes 
its way through the air, and flashing off jets of 
colored light of ravishing beauty. But all this is 



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28 THE TOSEMITE 

inyislble from the bottom of the Valley, like a 
thousand other interesting things. One must labor 
for beauty as for bread, here as elsewhere. 



THE QBANDEXJB OF THE YOSEMITE FALL 

During the time of the spring floods the best near 
view of the fall is obtained from Fern Ledge on the 
east side above the blinding spray at a height of about 
400 feet above the base of the fall. A climb of about 
1400 feet from the Valley has to be made, and there 
is no trail, but to any one foiid of climbing this will 
make the ascent all the more delightful. A narrow 
part of the ledge extends to the side of the fall and 
back of it, enabling us to approach it as closely as we 
wish. When the afternoon sunshine is streaming 
through the throng of comets, ever wasting, ever re- 
newed, the marvelous fineness, firmness and variety 
of their forms are beautifully revealed. At the top 
of the fall they seem to burst forth in irregular spurts 
from some grand, throbbing mountain heart. Now 
and then one mighty throb sends forth a mass of 
solid water into the free air far beyond the others, 
which rushes alone to the bottom of the fall with 
long streaming tail, like combed silk, while the 
others, descending in clusters, gradually mingle and 
lose their identity. But they all rush past us with 



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.ilE MhlW Yv'.)KK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX AN© 
TILDEN FOUNOAnONS. 



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GRANDEUR OF YOSEMITE FALL 29 

amazing velocily and display of power, though 
apparently drowsy and deliberate in their movements 
when observed from a distance of a mile or two. 
The heads of these comet-like masses are composed 
of nearly solid water, and are dense white in color 
like pressed snow, from the friction they suffer in 
rushing through the air, the portion worn off form- 
ing the tail, between the white lustrous threads and 
films of which faint, grayish pencilings appear, while 
the outer, finer sprays of water-dust> whirling in 
sunny eddies, are pearly gray throughout. At the 
bottom of the fall there is but little distinction of 
form visible. It is mostly a hissing, clashing, 
seething, upwhirling mass of scud and spray, through 
which the light sifts in gray and purple tones, while 
at times when the sun strikes at the required angle, 
the whole wild and apparently lawless, stormy, 
striving mass is changed to brilliant rainbow hues, 
manifesting finest harmony. The middle portion 
of the fall is the most openly beautiful; lower, the 
various forms into which the waters are wrought are 
more closely and voluminously veiled, while higher, 
towards the head, the current is comparatively simple 
and undivided. But even at the bottom, in the 
boiling clouds of spray, there is no confusion, while 
the rainbow light makes all divine, adding glorious 
beauty and peace to glorious power. This noble 
fall has far the richest, as well as the most powerful. 



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80 THE YOSEMITE 

voice of all the falls of the Valley, its tones varying 
from the sharp hiss and rustle of the wind in the 
glossy leaves of the live-oaks and the soft, sifting, 
hushing tones of the pines, to the loudest rush and 
roar of storm winds and thunder among the crags 
of the summit peaks. The low bass, booming, re- 
verberating tones, heard under favorable circum- 
stances five or six miles away, are formed by the 
dashing and exploding of heavy masses mixed with 
air upon two projecting ledges on the face of the 
cliff, the one on which we are standing and another 
about 200 feet above it. The torrent of massive 
comets is continuous at time of high water, while 
the explosive, booming notes are wildly intermit- 
tent, because, unless influenced by the wind, most of 
the heavier masses shoot out from the face of the 
precipice, and pass the ledges upon which at other 
times they are exploded* Occasionally the whol<e 
fall is swayed away from the front of the cliff, then 
suddenly dashed flat against it, or vibrated from side 
to side like a pendulum, giving rise to endless variety 
of forms and sounds. 



THE NEVADA FALL 

The Nevada Fall is 600 feet high and is usually 
ranked next to the Yosemite in general interest 



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THE NEVADA FALL 81 

among the five main falls of the Valley. Coming 
through the Little Yosemite in tranqnil reaches, the 
river is first broken into rapids on a moraine bonlder- 
bar that crosses the lower end of the Valley, Thence 
it pursnes its way to the head of the fall in a rough, 
solid rock channel, dashing on side angles, heaving 
in heavy surging masses against elbow knobs, and 
swirling and swashing in pot-holes without a 
moment's rest. Thus, already chafed and dashed to 
foam, overfolded and twisted, it plunges over the 
brink of the precipice as if glad to escape into the 
open air. But before it reaches the bottom it is pul- 
verized yet finer by impinging upon a sloping por- 
tion of the cliff about half-way down, thus making 
it the whitest of all the falls of the Valley, and 
altogether one of the most wonderful in the world. 

On the north side, close to its head, a slab of 
granite projects over the brink, forming a fine point 
for a view, over its throng of streamers and wild 
plunging, into its intensely white bosom, and, through 
the broad drifts of spray, to the river far below, 
gathering its spent waters and rushing on again down 
the canon in glad exultation into Emerald Pool, 
where at length it grows calm and gets rest for what 
still lies before it All the features of the view cor- 
respond with the waters in grandeur and wildness. 
The glaciei^sculptured walls of the cafion on either 
hand, with the sublime mass of the Glacier Point 



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82 THE TOSEMITE 

Ridge in front, f oiln a huge triangular pit-like basin, 
which, filled with the roaring of the falling river, 
seems as if it might be the hopper of one of the mills 
of the gods in which the mountains were being 
ground. 



THE VERNAL FALL 

The Vernal, about a mile below the Nevada, is 
400 feet high, a staid, orderly, graceful, easy-going 
fall, proper and exact in every movement and ges- 
ture, with scarce a hint of the passionate enthusiasm 
of the Yosemite or of the impetuous Nevada, whose 
chafed and twisted waters hurrying over the cliff 
seem glad to escape into the open air^ while its 
deep, booming, thunder-tones reverberate over the 
listening landscape. Nevertheless it is a favorite 
with most visitors, doubtless because it is more ac- 
cessible than any other, more closely approached 
and better seen and heard. A good stairway ascends 
the cliff beside it and the level plateau at the head 
enables one to saunter safely along the edge of the 
river as it comes from Emerald Pool and to watch 
its waters, calmly bending over the brow of the preci- 
pice, in a sheet eighty feet wide, changing in color 
from green to purplish gray and white until dashed 
on a boulder talus. Thence issuing from beneath 



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THE ILLILOXJETTE FALL 88 

its fine broad spray-clouds we see the tremendously 
adventurous river still unspent, beating its way 
down the wildest and deepest of all its cafions in gray 
roaring rapids, dear to the ouzel, and below the con- 
fluence of the lUilouette, sweeping around the 
shoulder of the Half Dome on its approach to the 
head of the tranquil levels of the Valley. 



THE ILLILOTJETTE FALL 

The Hlilouette in general appearance most resem- 
bles the Nevada. The volume of water is less than 
half as great, but it is about the same height (600 
feet) and its waters received the same kind of pre- 
liminary tossing in a rocky, irregular channel. 
Therefore it is a very white and fine-grained fall. 
When it is in full springtime bloom it is partly 
divided by ro(^ that roughen the lip of the precipice, 
but this division amounts only to a kind of fluting 
and grooving of the column, which has a beautiful 
effect. It is not nearly so grand a fall as the upper 
Yosemite, or so symmetrical as the Vernal, or so 
airily graceful and simple as the Bridal Veil, nor 
does it ever display so tremendous an outgush of 
snowy magnificence as 'the Nevada ; but in the ex- 
quisite fineness and richness of texture of its flowing 
folds it surpasses them all. 



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84 THE TOSEMITE 

One of the finest effects of sunlight on falling water 
I ever saw in Tosemite or elsewhere I fonnd on the 
brow of this beautiful fall. It was in the Indian 
summer, when the leaf colors were ripe and the great 
cliffs and domes were transfigured in the hazy golden 
air. I had scrambled up its rugged talus-dammed 
canon, oftentimes stopping to take breath and look 
back to admire the wonderful views to be had there 
of the great Half Dome, and to enjoy the extreme 
purity of the water, which in the motionless pools 
on this stream is almost perfectly invisible; the 
colored foliage of the maples, dogwoods, RvhtiS 
tangles, etc, and the late goldenrods and asters. 
The voice of the fall was now low, and the grand 
spring and summer floods had waned to sifting, 
drifting gauze and thin-broidered folds of linked 
and arrowy lace-work. When I reached the foot of 
the fall sunbeams were glinting across its head, 
leaving all the rest of it in shadow ; and on its illu- 
mined brow a group of yellow spangles of singular 
form and beauty were playing, flashing up and dan- 
cing in large flame-shaped masses, wavering at times, 
then steadying, rising and falling in accord with the 
shifting forms of the water. But the color of the 
dancing spangles changed not at all. Nothing in 
clouds or flowers, on bird-wings or the lips of shells, 
could rival it in fineness. It was the most divinely 
beautiful mass of rejoicing yellow light I ever be- 



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THE MINOR FALLS 86 

held — one of Nature's precious gifts that perchance 
may come to us but once in a lifetime. 



THE MINOR FALLS 

There are many other comparatively small falls 
and cascades in the Valley. The most notable are 
the Yosemite Gorge Fall and Cascades, Tenaya Fall 
and Cascades, Royal Arch Falls, the two Sentinel 
Cascades and the falls of Cascade and Tamarack 
Creeks, a mile or two below the lower end of the 
Valley. These last are often visited. The others 
are seldom noticed or mentioned ; although in almost 
any other country they would be visited and described 
as wonders. 

The six intermediate falls in the gorge between the 
head of the Lower and the base of the Upper 
Yosemite Falls, separated by a few deep pools and 
strips of rapids, and three slender, tributary cascades 
on the west side form a series more strikingly varied 
and combined than any other in the Valley, yet very 
few of all the Valley visitors ever see them or hear 
of them. No available standpoint commands a view 
of them all. The best general view is obtained from 
the mouth of the gorge near the head of the Lower 
Fall. The two lowest of the series, together with 
one of the three tributary cascades, are visible from 



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86 THE TOSEMITE 

this standpoint^ but in reaching it the last twenty or 
thirty feet of the descent is rather dangerous in time 
of high water, the shelving rocks being then slippery 
on account of spray, but if one should chance to 
slip when the water is low, only a bump or two and 
a harmless plash would be the penalty. "So part of 
the gorge, however, is safe to any but cautious 
climbers. 

Though the dark gorge hall of these rejoicing 
waters is never flushed by the purple light of morn- 
ing or evening, it is warmed and cheered by the 
white light of noonday, which, falling into so much 
foam and spray of varying degrees of fineness, makes 
marvelous displays of rainbow colors. So filled, in- 
deed, is it with this precious light, at favorable times 
it seems to take the place of common air. Laurel 
bushes shed fragrance into it from above and live- 
oaks, those fearless mountaineers, hold fast to angular 
seams and lean out over it with their fringing sprays 
and bright mirror leaves. 

One bird, the ouzel, loves this gorge and flies 
through it merrily, or cheerily, rather, stopping to 
sing on foam-washed bosses where other birds could 
find no rest for their feet I have even seen a gray 
squirrel down in the heart of it beside the wild re- 
joicing water. 

One of my favorite night walks was along the 
rim of this wild gorge in times of high water when 



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Vernal Fall 



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rrrrr^w YORK 

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THE MINOK FALLS 37 

the moon was f ull^ to see the lunar bows in the spray. 

For about a mile above Mirror Lake the Tenaya 
Canon is level, and richly planted with fir, Douglas 
spruce and libocedrus, forming a remarkably fine 
grove, at the head of which is the Tenaya Fall. 
Though seldom seen or described, this is, I think, 
the most picturesque of all the small falls. A con- 
siderable distance above it, Tenaya Creek comes 
hurrying down, white and foamy, over a flat pave- 
ment inclined at an angle of about eighteen degrees. 
Li time of high water this sheet of rapids is nearly 
seventy feet wide, and is varied in a very striking 
way by three parallel furrows that extend in the 
direction of its flow. These furrows, worn by the 
action of the stream ppon cleavage joints, vary in 
width, are slightly* sinuous, and have^ large boulders 
firmly wedged in them here and there in narrow 
places, giving rise, of 'p6urse, to a complicated series 
of wild dashes, doublings, and upleaping arches 
in the swift torrent. Just before it reaches the head 
of the fall the current is divided, the left division 
making a vertical drop of about eighty feet in a 
romantic, leafy, flowery, mossy nook, while the other 
forms a rugged cascade. 

The Eoyal Arch Fall in time of high water is a 
magnificent object, forming a broad ornamental sheet 
in front of the arches. The two Sentinel Cascades, 
3000 feet high, are also grand spectacles when the 



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38 THE YOSEMITE 

snow is melting fast in the spring, but by tbe mid- 
dle of summer they have diminished to mere 
streaks scarce noticeable amid their sublime sur^ 
roundings. 



THE BEAUTY OF THE RAINBOWS 

The Bridal Veil and Vernal Falls are famous for 
their rainbows; and special visits to them are often 
made when the sun shines into the spray at the most 
favorable angle. But amid the spray and foam and 
fine-ground mist ever rising from the various falls 
and cataracts there is an affluence and variety of 
iris bows scarcely known to visitors who stay only 
a day or two. Both day and night, winter and sum- 
mer, this divine light may be seen wherever water 
is falling, dancing, singing; telling the heart-peace 
of Nature amid the wildest displays of her power. 
In the bright spring mornings the black-walled 
recess at the foot of the Lower Tosemite Fall is 
lavishly filled vnth irised spray; and not simply 
does this span the dashing foam, but the foam itself, 
the whole mass of it, beheld at a certain distance, 
seems to be colored, and drifts and wavers from 
color to color, mingling with the foliage of the ad- 
jacent trees, without suggesting any relationship to 
the ordinary rainbow. This is perhaps the largest 



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BEAUTY OF RAIKBOWS 39 

and most reservoir-like fountain of iris colors to be 
found in the Valley. 

Lunar rainbows or spray-bows also abound in the 
glorious affluence of dashing, rejoicing, hurrahing, 
enthusiastic spring floods, their colors as distinct as 
those of the sun and regularly and obviously banded, 
though less vivid. Fine specimens may be found any 
night at the foot of the Upper Tosemite Fall, glow- 
ing gloriously amid the gloomy shadows and thunder- 
ing waters, whenever there is plenty of moonlight and 
spray. Even the secondary bow is at times dis- 
tinctly visible. 

The best point from which to observe them is on 
Fern Ledge. For some time after moonrise, at time 
of high water, the arc has a span of about five 
hundred feet, and is set upright ; one end planted in 
the boiling spray at the bottom, the other in the edge 
of the fall, creeping lower, of course, and becoming 
less upright as the moon rises higher. This grand 
arc of color, glowing in mild, shapely beauty in so 
weird and huge a chamber of night shadows, and 
amid the rush and roar and tumultuous dashing of 
this thunder-voiced fall, is one of the moist impres- 
sive and most cheering of all the blessed mountain 
evangels. 

Smaller bows may be seen in the gorge on the 
plateau between the Upper and Lower Falls. Once 
toward midnight, after spending a few hours with the 



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40 THE TOSEMITE 

wild beauty of the Upper Fall, I sauntered along the 
edge of the gorge, looking in here and there, wherever 
the footing felt safe, to see what I could learn of 
the night aspects of the smaller falls that dwell 
there. And down in an exceedingly black, pit-like 
portion of the gorge, at the foot of the highest of 
the intermediate falls, into which the moonbeams 
were pouring through a narrow opening, I saw a 
well-defined spray-bow, beautifully distinct in colors, 
spanning the pit from side to side, while pure white 
foam-waves beneath the beautiful bow were con- 
stantly springing up out of the dark into the moon- 
light like dancing ghosts. 



AN UNEXPECTED ADVENTUKE 

A wild scene, but not a safe one, is made by the 
moon as it appears through the edge of the Yosemite 
Fall when one is behind it. Once, after enjoying the 
night-song of the waters and watching the formation 
of the colored bow as the moon came round the domes 
and sent her beams into the wild uproar, I ventured 
out on the narrow bench that extends back of the 
fall from Fern Ledge and began to admire the dim- 
veiled grandeur of the view. I could see the fine 
gauzy threads of the fall's filmy border by having 
the light in front; and wishing to look at the moon 



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AS UNEXPECTED ADVENTURE 41 

through the meshes of some of the denser portions 
of the fall, I ventured to creep farther behind it 
while it was gently wind-swayed, without taking 
sufficient thought about the consequences of its sway- 
ing back to its natural position after the wind-pres- 
sure should be removed. The effect was enchanting : 
fine, savage music sounding above, beneath, around 
me; while the moon, apparently in the very midst of 
the rushing waters, seemed to be struggling to keep 
her place, on account of the ever-varying form and 
density of the water masses through which she was 
seen, now darkly veiled or eclipsed by a rush of 
thick-headed comets, now flashing out through open- 
ings between their tails. I was in fairyland between 
the dark wall and the wild throng of illumined 
waters, but suffered sudden disenchantment; for, 
like the witch-scene in Alloway Kirk, " in an instant 
all was dark.'* Down came a dash of spent comets, 
thin and harmless-looking in the distance, but they 
felt desperately solid and stony when they struck my 
shoulders, like a mixture of choking spray and 
gravel and big hailstones. Instinctively dropping on 
my knees, I gripped an angle of the rock, curled 
up like a young fern frond with my face pressed 
against my breast, and in this attitude submitted 
as best I could to my thundering bath. The heavier 
masses seemed to strike like cobblestones, and there 
was a confused noise of many waters about my ears 



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42 THE TOSEMITE 

— hissing, gargling, clashing sounds that were not 
heard as music The situation was quicklj realized. 
How fast one's thoughts bum in such times of stress ! 
I was weighing chances of escape. Would the col- 
umn be swayed a few inches away from the wall, or 
would it come yet closer? The fall was in flood 
and not so lightly would its ponderous mass be 
swayed. My fate seemed to depend on a breath of 
the " idle wind.'' It was moved gently forward, the 
pounding ceased, and I was once more visited by 
glimpses of the moon. But fearing I might be 
caught at a disadvantage in making too hasty a re- 
treat, I moved only a few feet along the bench to 
where a block of ice lay. I wedged myself between 
the ice and the wall, and lay face downwards, until 
the steadiness of the light gave encouragement to rise 
and get away. Somewhat nerve-shaken, drenched, 
and benumbed, I made out to build a fire, warmed 
myself, ran home, reached my cabin before day- 
light, got an hour or two of sleep, and awoke soimd 
and comfortable, better, not worse, for my hard mid- 
night bath. 



CLIMATE AND WEATHER 

Owing to the westerly trend of the Valley and its 
vast depth there is a great diflFerence between the 



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CLIMATE AND WEATHER 43 

climates of the north and south sides — greater than 
between many countries far apart ; for the south wall 
is in shadow during the winter months, while the 
north is bathed in sunshine every clear day. Thus 
there is mild spring weather on one side of the 
Valley while winter rules the other. Far up the 
north-side cliffs many a nook may be found closely 
embraced by sun-beaten rock-bosses in which flowers 
bloom every month of the year. Even butterflies 
may be seen in these high winter gardens except when 
snow-storms are falling and a few days after they 
have ceased. Near the head of the lower Tosemite 
Fall in January I found the ant lions lying in wait in 
their warm sand-cups, rock ferns being unrolled, 
club mosses covered with fresh-growing points, the 
flowers of the laurel nearly open, and the honey- 
suckle rosetted with bright young leaves ; every plant 
seemed to be thinking about summer. Even on the 
shadow-side of the Valley the frost is never very 
sharp. The lowest temperature I ever observed 
during four winters was 7*^ Fahrenheit The first 
twenty-four days of January had an average tempera- 
ture at 9 A. M. of 32*^, minimum 22® ; at 3 p. m. the 
average was 40*^ 3(/, the minimum 32®. Along the 
top of the walls, 7000 and 8000 feet high, the tem- 
perature was, of course, much lower. But the differ- 
ence in temperature between the north and south sides 
is due not so much to the winter sunshine as to the 



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44 THE YOSEMITE 

heat of the preceding summer^ stored up in the 
rocks, which rapidly melts the snow in contact with 
them. For though summer sun-heat is stored in the 
rocks of the south side also, the amount is much less 
because the rays fall obliquely on the south wall even 
in summer and almost vertically on the north. 

The upper branches of the Tosemite streams are 
buried every winter beneath a heavy mantle of snow, 
and set free in the spring in magnificent floods. 
Then, all the fountains, full and overflowing, every 
living thing breaks forth into singing, and the glad 
exulting streams, shining and falling in the warm 
sunny weather, shake everything into music, making 
all the mountain-world a song. 

The great annual spring thaw usually begins in 
May in the forest region, and in June and July on the 
high Sierra, varying somewhat both in time and full- 
ness with the weather and the depth of the snow. 
Toward the end of summer the streams are at their 
lowest ebb, few even of the strongest singing much 
above a whisper as they slip and ripple through gravel 
and boulder-beds from pool to pool in the hollows of 
their channels, and drop in pattering showers like 
rain, and slip down precipices and fall in sheets of 
embroidery, fold over fold. But, however low their 
singing, it is always ineffably fine in tone, in har- 
mony with the restful time of the year. 

The first snow of the season that comes to the 



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'illE KEW YOKK 

FLBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX AN» 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 



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Nevada Fall — Side View 



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WINTEK BEAUTY 46 

help of the streams usually falls in September or 
October, sometimes even in the latter part of August, 
in the midst of yellow Indian summer, when the 
goldenrods and gentians of the glacier meadows are 
in their prime. This Indian-summer snow, how- 
ever, soon melts, the diilled flowers spread their 
petals to the sun, and the gardens as well as the 
streams are refreshed as if only a warm shower 
had fallen. The snow-storms that load the moun- 
tains to form the main fountain supply for the year 
seldom set in before the middle or end of November. 



"WINTER BEAUTY OF THE VALLEY 

When the first heavy storms stopped work on the 
high moxmtains, I made haste down to my Yosemite 
den, not to " hole up " and sleep the white months 
away; % was out every day, and often all night, 
sleeping but little, studying the so-called wonders 
and common things ever on show, wading, climbing, 
sauntering among the blessed storms and calms, re- 
joicing in almost everything alike that I could see 
or hear : the glorious brightness of frosty mornings ; 
the sunbeams pouring over the white domes and 
crags into the groves and waterfalls, kindling mar- 
velous iris fires in the hoarfrost and spray ; the great 
forests and mountains in their deep noau sleep; the 



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46 THE YOSEMITE 

good-night alpenglow; the stars; the solemn gazing 
moon, drawing the huge domes and headlands one by 
one glowing white out of the shadows hushed and 
breathless like an audience in awful enthusiasm, 
while the meadows at their feet sparkle with frost- 
stars like the sky; the sublime darkness of storm- 
nights, when all the lights are out; the clouds in 
whose depths the frail snow-flowers grow; the be- 
havior and many voices of the different kinds of 
storms, trees, birds, waterfalls, and snow-avalanches 
in the eveivchanging weather. 

Every clear, frosty morning loud sounds are 
heard booming and reverberating from side to side 
of the Valley at intervals of a few minutes, ban- 
ning soon after sunrise and continuing an hour or 
two like a thunder-storm. In my first winter in the 
Valley I could not make out the source of this 
noise. I thought of falling boulders, rock-blasting, 
etc. Not till I saw what looked like hoarfrost drop- 
ping from the side of the Fall was the problem ex- 
plained. The strange thunder is made by the fall 
of sections of ice formed of spray that is frozen on 
the face of the cliff along the sides of the Upper 
Tosemite Fall — a sort of crystal plaster, a foot 
or two thick, cracked off by the sunbeams, awaken- 
ing all the Valley like cock-crowing, announcing the 
finest weather, shouting aloud Nature's infinite in- 
dustry and love of hard work in creating beauty. 



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EXPLOKING AN ICE CONE 4Y 



EXPLORING AN ICE CONE 

This frozen spray gives rise to one of the most in- 
teresting winter features of the Valley — a cone of 
ice at the foot of the fall, four or five hundred feet 
high. From the Fern Ledge standpoint its crater 
like throat is seen, down which the fall plunges with 
deep, gasping explosions of compressed air, and, after 
being well churned in the stormy interior, the water 
bursts forth through arched openings at its base, ap- 
parently scourged and weary and glad to escape, while 
belching spray, spouted up out of the throat past the 
descending current, is wafted away in irised drifts to 
the adjacent rocks and groves. It is built during the 
night and early hours of the morning; only in spells 
of exceptionally cold and cloudy weather is the work 
continued through the day. The greater part of the 
spray material falls in crystalline showers direct to 
its place, something like a small local snow-storm; but 
a considerable portion is first frozen on the face of the 
cliff along the sides of the fall and stays there until 
expanded and cracked off in irregular masses, some 
of them tons in weight, to be built into the walls of 
the cone; while in windy, frosty weather, when the 
fall is swayed from side to side, the cone is well 
drenched and the loose ice masses and spray-dust are 
all firmly welded and frozen together. Thus the 



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48 THE TOSEMITE 

finest of the downy wafts and curls of spray-dust, 
which in mild nights fall about as silently as dew, are 
held back until sunrise to make a store of heavy ice 
to reinforce the waterf alFs thunder-tones. 

While the cone is in process of formation, growing 
higher and wider in the frosty weather, it looks like a 
beautiful smooth, pure-white hill; but when it is 
wasting and breaking up in the spring its surface is 
strewn with leaves, pine branches, stones, sand, etc., 
that have been brought over the fall, making it look 
like a heap of avalanche detritus. 

Anxious to learn what I could about the structure 
of this curious hill I often approached it in calm 
weather and tried to climb it, carrying an ax to cut 
steps. Once I nearly succeeded in gaining the sum- 
mit At the base I was met by a current of spray 
and wind that made seeing and breathing difficult. I 
pushed on backward, however, and soon gained the 
slope of the hill, where by creeping dose to the sur- 
face most of the choking blast passed over me and I 
managed to crawl up with but little difficulty. Thus 
I made my way nearly to the summit, halting at 
times to peer up through the wild whirls of spray at 
the veiled grandeur of the fall, or to listen to the 
thunder beneath me ; the whole hill was sounding as 
if it were a huge, bellowing drum. I hoped that by 
waiting until the fall was blown aslant I should be 
able to dimb to the lip of the crater and get a view 



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EXPLORING AN ICE CONE 4d 

of the interior; but a suffocating blast^ half air^ half 
"water, followed by the fall of an enormous mass of 
frozen spray from a spot high up on the wall, quickly 
discouraged me. The whole cone was jarred by the 
blow and some fragments of the mass sped past me 
dangerously near; so I beat a hasty retreat, chilled 
and drenched, and lay down on a sunny rock to dry. 

Once during a wind-storm when I saw that the 
fall was frequently blown westward, leaving the cone 
dry, I ran up to Fern Ledge hoping to gain a dear 
view of the interior. I set out at noon. All the 
way up the storm notes were so loud about me that 
the voice of the fall was almost drowned by them. 
Notwithstanding the rocks and bushes everywhere 
were drenched by the wind-driven spray, I approached 
the brink of the precipice overlooking the mouth of 
the ice cone, but I was almost suffocated by the 
drenching, gusty spray, and was compelled to seek 
shelter. I searched for some hiding-place in the wall 
from whence I might run out at some opportune mo- 
ment when the fall with its whirling spray and torn 
shreds of comet tails and trailing, tattered skirts was 
borne westward, as I had seen it carried several times 
before, leaving the cliffs on the east side and the ice 
hill bare in the sunlight. I had not long to wait, for, 
as if ordered so for my special accommodation, the 
mighty downrush of comets with their whirling 
drapery swung westward and remained aslant for 



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60 THE YOSEMITE 

nearly half an hour. The cone was admirably 
lighted and deserted by the water, which fell most of 
the time on the rocky western slopes mostly outside of 
the oona The mouth into which the fall pours was, 
as near as I could guess, about one hundred feet in 
diameter north and south and about two hundred 
feet east and west, which is about the shape and size 
of the fall at its best in its normal condition at this 
season. 

The crater-like opening was not a true oval, but 
more like a huge coarse mouth. I could see down the 
throat about one hundred feet or perhaps farther. 

The fall precipice overhangs from a height of 400 
feet above the base ; therefore the water strikes some 
distance from the base of die cliff, allowing space 
for the accumulation of a considerable mass of ice 
between the fall and the wall. 



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n 

WINTER STORMS AND SPRING FLOODS 

THE Bridal Veil and the Upper Tosemite Fallfl, 
on account of their height and exposnre, are 
greatly influenced by winds. The common summer 
winds that come up the river canon from the plains 
are seldom very strong ; but the north winds do some 
very wild work, worrying the falls and the forests, 
and hanging snow-banners on the comet-peaks. One 
wild winter morning I was awakened by a storm-wind 
that was playing with the falls as if they were mere 
wisps of mist and making the great pines bow and 
sing with glorious enthusiasm. The Valley had been 
visited a short time before by a series of fine snow- 
storms, and the floor and the diffs and all the region 
round about were lavishly adorned with its best win- 
ter jewelry, the air was full of fine snow-dust, and 
pine branches, tassels and empty cones were flying in 
an almost continuous flock. 

Soon after sunrise, when I was seeking a place safe 
from flying branches, I saw the Lower Tosemite Fall 
thrashed and pulverized from top to bottom into one 

glorious mass of rainbow dust ; while a thousand feet 

61 



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52 THE TOSEMITE 

above it the main Upper Fall was suspended on the 
face of the diff in the form of an inverted bow, aU 
silvery white and fringed with short wavering strips. 
Then, suddenly assailed by a tremendous blast, the 
whole mass of the fall was blown into threads and 
ribbons, and driven back over the brow of the cliff 
whence it came, as if denied admission to the Val- 
ley. This kind of storm-work was continued about 
ten or fifteen minutes; then another change in the 
play of the huge exulting swirls and billows and up- 
heaving domes of the gale allowed the baffled fall 
to gather and arrange its tattered waters, and sink 
down again in its place. As the day advanced, the 
gale gave no sign of dying, excepting brief lulls, the 
Yalley was filled with its weariless roar, and the 
cloudless sky grew garish-white from myriads of 
minute, sparkling snow-spicules. In the afternoon, 
while I watched the Upper Fall from the shelter of 
a big pine tree, it was suddenly arrested in its descent 
at a point about half-way down, and was neither 
blown upward nor driven aside, but simply held sta- 
tionary in mid-air, as if gravitation below that point 
in the path of its descent had ceased to act The 
ponderous flood, weighing hundreds of tons, was sus- 
tained, hovering, hesitating, like a bunch of thistle- 
down, while I counted one hundred and ninety. All 
this time the ordinary amount of water was coming 
over the cliff and accumulating in the air, swedging 



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Vernal Fall 



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'; ; i ^' ? 






A<?TOR 

TIL DEN 


LE^JOX AH© 
F0UV0ATION3 





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AN EXTRAOEDINARY STORM 63 

and widening and forming an irregular cone about 
seven hundred feet high^ tapering to the top of the 
wall^ the whole standing stilly resting on the invisible 
arm of the North Wind. At length, as if com- 
manded to go on again, scores of arrowy comets shot 
forth from the bottom of the suspended mass as if 
escaping from separate outlets. 

The brow of El Capitan was decked with long 
snow-streamers like hair, Clouds* Eest was fairly en- 
veloped in drifting gossamer films, and the Half 
Dome loomed up in the garish light like a majestic, 
living creature clad in the same gauzy, wind-woven 
drapery, while upward currents meeting at times 
overhead made it smoke like a volcano. 



AN EXTRAORDINARY STORM AND FLOOD 

Glorious as are these rocks and waters arrayed in 
storm robes, or chanting rejoicing in every-day dress, 
they are still more glorious when rare weather condi- 
tions meet to make them sing with floods. Only 
once during all the years I have lived in the Valley 
have I seen it in full flood bloom. In 1871 the early 
winter weather was delightful ; the days all sunshine, 
the nights all starry and calm, calling forth fine crops 
of frost-crystals on the pines and withered ferns and 
grasses for the morning sunbeams to sift through. 



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64 THE TOSEMITE 

In the afternoon of December 16^ when I was Bann- 
tering on the meadows^ I noticed a massive crimson 
cloud growing in solitary grandeur above the Ca- 
thedral Bocksy its form scarcely less striking than its 
color. It had a picturesque^ bulging base like an old 
sequoia, a smooth, tapering stem, and a bossy, down- 
curling crown like a mushroom; all its parts were 
colored alike, making one mass of translucent crim- 
son. Wondering what the meaning of that strange, 
lonely red cloud might be, I was up betimes next 
morning looking at the weather, but all seemed tran- 
quil as yet Towards noon gray clouds with a dose, 
ciurly grain like bird's-eye maple began to grow, and 
late at night rain fell, which soon changed to snow. 
Next morning the snow on the meadows was about 
ten inches deep, and it was still falling in a fine, 
cordial stomu During the night of the 18th heavy 
rain fell on the snow, but as the temperature was 34*^, 
the snow-line was only a few hundred feet above the 
bottom of the Valley, and one had only to climb a 
little higher than the tops of the pines to get out of 
the rain-storm into the snow-stomu The streams, in- 
stead of being increased in volume by the storm, were 
diminished, because the snow sponged up part of their 
waters and choked the smaller tributaries. But 
about midnight the temperature suddenly rose to 42^, 
carrying the snow-line far beyond the Valley walls, 
and next morning Yosemite was rejoicing in a glori- 



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AN EXTRAOEDINARY STORM 66 

0U8 flood. The comparatively wann rain falling on 
the snow was at first absorbed and held back, and so 
also was that portion of the snow that the rain melted, 
and all that was melted by the warm wind, nntil the 
whole mass of snow was saturated and became sludgy, 
and at length slipped and rushed simultaneously from 
a thousand slopes in wildest extravagance, heaping 
and swelling flood over flood, and plunging into the 
Valley in stupendous avalanches. 

Awakened by the roar, I looked out and at once 
recognized the extraordinary character of the storm. 
The rain was still pouring in torrent abundance and 
the wind at gale speed was doing all it could with the 
flood-making rain. 

The section of the north wall visible from my cabin 
was fairly streaked with new falls — wild roaring 
singers that seemed strangely out of place. Eager to 
get into the midst of the show, I snatched a piece of 
bread for breakfast and ran out The mountain wa- 
ters, suddenly liberated, seemed to be holding a grand 
jubilee. The two Sentinel Cascades rivaled the great 
falls at ordinary stages, and across the Valley by the 
Three Brothers I caught glimpses of more falls than 
I could readily count; while the whole Valley 
throbbed and trembled, and was filled with an awful, 
massive, solemn, sea-like roar. After gazing a while 
enchanted with the network of new falls that were 
adorning and transfiguring every rock in sight, I 



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66 THE TOSEMITE 

tried to reach the upper meadows, where the Vall^ 
is widest, that I might be able to see the walls on 
both sides, and thus gain general views. But the 
river was over its banks and the meadows were 
flooded^ forming an almost continuous lake dotted 
with blue sludgy islands, while innumerable streams 
roared like lions across my path and were sweeping 
forward rocks and logs with tremendous energy over 
groimd where tiny gilias had been growing but a 
short time before. Climbing into the talus slopes, 
where these savage torrents were broken among earth- 
quake boulders, I managed to cross them, and force 
my way up the Valley to Hutchings' Bridge, where 
I crossed the river and waded to the middle of the 
upper meadow. Here most of the new falls were in 
sight, probably the most glorious assemblage of wa- 
terfalls ever displayed from any one standpoint. On 
that portion of the south wall between Hutching^ 
and the Sentinel there were ten falls plunging and 
booming from a height of nearly three thousand feet, 
the smallest of which might have been heard miles 
away. In the neighborhood of Glacier Point there 
were six ; between the Three Brothers and Tosemite 
Fall, nine; between Tosemite and Royal Arch Falls^ 
ten; from Washington Column to Mount Watkins, 
ten; on the slopes of Half Dome and Clouds' Best, 
facing Mirror Lake and Tenaya Canon, eight; on 
the shoulder of Half Dome, facing the Valley, three: 



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AN EXTRAORDINARY STORM 67 

fifty-six new falls occupying the upper end of the 
Valley, besides a countless host of silvery threads 
gleaming everywhere. In all the Valley there must 
have been upwards of a hundred. As if celebrating 
some great event, falls and cascades in Yosemite cos- 
tume were coming down everywhere from f oimtain 
basins, far and near; and, though newcomers, they 
behaved and sang as if they had lived here always. 

All summer-visitors will remember the comet forms 
of the Yosemite Fall and the laces of the Bridal Veil 
and Nevada. In the falls of this winter jubilee the 
lace forms predominated, but there was no lack of 
thunder-toned comets. The lower portion of one of 
the Sentinel Cascades was composed of two main 
white torrents with the i^ace between them filled in 
with chained and beaded gauze of intricate pattern, 
through the singing threads of which the purplish- 
gray rock could be dimly seen. The series above 
Glacier Point was still more complicated in structure, 
displaying every form that one could imagine water 
might be dashed and combed and woven into. Those 
on the north wall between Washington Column and 
the Royal Arch Fall were so nearly related they 
formed an almost continuous sheet, and these again 
were but slightly separated from those about Indian 
Canon. The group about the Three Brothers and 
El Capitan, owing to the topography and cleavage 
of the cliffs back of them, was more broken and ir- 



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58 THE YOSEMITE 

regular. The Tissiack Cascades were comparatively 
small^ yet sufficient to give that noblest of mountain 
rocks a glorious voice. In the midst of all this ex- 
travagant rejoicing the great Tosemite Fall was 
scarce heard until about three o^clock in the after- 
noon. Then I was startled by a sudden thimdering 
crash as if a rock avalanche had come to the help of 
the roaring waters. This was the flood-wave of Yo- 
semite Creek, which had just arrived, delayed by the 
distance it had to travel, and by the choking snows 
of its widespread fountains. Now, with volume ten- 
fold increased beyond its springtime fullness, it took 
its place as leader of the glorious choir. 

And the winds, too, were singing in wild accord, 
playing on every tree and rock, surging against the 
huge brows and domes and outstanding battlements, 
deflected hither and thither and broken into a thou- 
sand cascading, roaring currents in the canons, and 
low bass, drumming swirls in the hollows. And these 
again, reacting on the clouds, eroded immense cavern- 
ous spaces in their gray depths and swept forward 
the resulting detritus in ragged trains like the mo- 
raines of glaciers. These cloud movements in turn 
published the work of the winds, giving them a visi- 
ble body, and enabling us to trace them. As if en- 
dowed with independent motion, a detached cloud 
would rise hastily to the very top of the wall as if 
on some important errand, examining the faces of 



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AN EXTRAOKDINAEY STORM 59 

the cliffs^ and then perhaps as suddenly descend to 
sweep imposingly along the meadows, trailing its 
drawled fringes through the pines, fondling its 
waving spires with infinite genMeness, or, gliding be- 
hind a grove or a single tree, bringing it into striking 
relief, as it bowed and waved in solemn rhythm. 
Sometimes, as the busy clouds drooped and condensed 
or dissolved to misty gauze, half of the Valley would 
be suddenly veiled, leaving here and there some lofty 
headland cut off from all visible connection with the 
walls, looming alone, dim, spectral, as if belonging 
to the sky — visitors, like the new falls, come to take 
part in the glorious festival Thus for two days and 
nights in measureless extravagance the storm went on, 
and mostly without spectators, at least of a terrestrial 
kind. I saw nobody out — bird, bear, squirrel, or 
man. Tourists had vanished months before, and the 
hotel people and laborers were out of sight, careful 
about getting cold, and satisfied with views from 
windows. The bears, I suppose, were in their canon- 
boulder dens, the squirrels in their knot-hole nests, 
the grouse in close fir groves, and the small singers 
in the Indian Canon chaparral, trying to keep warm 
and dry. Strange to say, I did not see even the 
water-ouzels, though they must have greatly enjoyed 
the storm. 

This was the most sublime waterfall flood I ever 
saw — clouds, winds, rocks, waters, throbbing to- 



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60 THE TOSEMITE 

gether as one. And then to contemplate what was 
going on simnltaneouslj with all this in other moun- 
tain temples; the Big Tuolumne Canon — how the 
white waters and the winds were singing there ! And 
in Hetch Hetchy Valley and the great King^s River 
yosemite, and in all the other Sierra canons and val- 
leys from Shasta to the southernmost fountains of 
the "KeTRf thousands of rejoicing flood waterfalls 
chanting together in jubilee dress. 



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CO 

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in 

SNOW-STORMS 

AS has been already stated, tlie first of the great 
snow-storms that replenish the Yosemite foun- 
tains seldom sets in before the end of November. 
Then, warned by the sky, wide-awake mountaineers, 
together with the deer and most of the birds, make 
haste to the lowlands or foothills; and burrowing 
marmots, mountain beavers, wood-rats, and other 
small mountain people, go into winter quarters, some 
of them not again to see the light of day until the 
general awakening and resurrection of the spring in 
June or July. The fertile clouds, drooping and con- 
densing in brooding silence, seem to be thoughtfully 
examining the forests and streams with reference to 
the work that lies before them. At length, all their 
plans perfected, tufted flakes and single starry crys- 
tals come in sight, solemnly swirling and glinting to 
their blessed appointed places; and soon the busy 
throng fills the sky and makes darkness like night. 
The first heavy fall is usually from about two to four 
feet in depth ; then with intervals of days or weeks of 
bright weather storm succeeds storm, heaping snow 

61 



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62 THE TOSEMITE 

on snow, until thirty to fifty feet has fallen* But 
on account of its settling and compacting, and waste 
from melting and evaporation, the average depth ac- 
tually found at any time seldom exceeds ten feet in 
the forest regions, or fifteen feet along the slopes of 
the summit peaks. After snow-storms come ava- 
lanches, varying greatly in form, size, behavior and 
in the songs they sing; some on the smooth slopes of 
the mountains are short and broad; others long and 
river-like in the side canons of yosemites and in the 
main canons, flowing in regular channels and boom- 
ing like waterfalls, while countless smaller ones fall 
everywhere from laden trees and rocks and lofty 
canon walls. Most delightful it is to stand in the 
middle of Yosemite on still clear mornings after 
snow-storms and watch the throng of avalanches as 
they come down, rejoicing, to their places, whisper^ 
ing, thrilling like birds, or booming and roaring like 
thunder. The noble yellow pines stand hushed and 
motionless as if under a spell until the morning sun- 
shine begins to sift through their laden spires ; then 
the dense masses on the ends of the leafy branches 
begin to shift and fall, those from the upper branches 
striking the lower ones in succession, enveloping each 
tree in a hollow conical avalanche of fairy fineness; 
while the relieved branches spring up and wave with 
startling effect in the general stillness, as if each tree 
was moving of its own volition. Hundreds of broad 



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AVALANCHES 63 

cloud-shaped masses may also be seen, leaping over 
the brows of the cliffs from great heights, descending 
at first "with regular avalanche speed until, worn into 
dust by friction, they float in front of the precipices 
like irised clouds. Those which descend from the 
brow of El Capitan are particularly fine; but most 
of the great Yosemite avalanches flow in regular 
channels like cascades and waterfalls. When the 
snow first gives way on the upper slopes of their 
basins, a dull rushing, rumbling sound is heard which 
rapidly increases and seems to draw nearer with ap- 
palling intensity of tone. Presently the white flood 
comes bounding into sight over bosses and sheer 
places, leaping from bench to bench, spreading and 
narrowing and throwing off clouds of whirling dust 
like the spray of foaming cataracts. Compared with 
waterfalls and cascades, avalanches are short-lived, 
few of them lasting more than a minute or two, and 
the sharp, clashing sounds so common in falling water 
are mostly wanting; but in their low massy thunder- 
tones and purple-tinged whiteness, and in their dress, 
gait, gestures and general behavior, they are much 
alike. 

AVALANCHES 

Besides these common after^torm avalanches that 
are to be found not only in the Yosemite but in all 



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64 THE TOSEMITE 

the deep; sheer-walled canons of the Range there are 
two other important kinds^ which may he called an- 
nual and century avalanches^ which still further en- 
rich the scenery. The only place about the Valley 
where one may be sure to see the annual kind is on 
the north slope of Clouds^ Eest. They are composed 
of heavy, compacted snow, which has been subjected 
to frequent alternations of freezing and thawing. 
They are developed on canon and mountain-^ides at an 
elevation of from nine to ten thousand feet, where 
the slopes are inclined at an angle too low to shed off 
the dry winter snow, and which accumulates until 
the spring thaws sap their foundations and make them 
slippery ; then away in grand style go the ponderous 
icy masses without any fine snow-dust. Those of 
Clouds* Eest descend like thunderbolts for more than 
a mile. 

The great century avalanches and the kind that 
mow wide swaths through the upper forests occur 
on mountain-sides about ten or twelve thousand feet 
high, where under ordinary weather conditions the 
snow accumulated from winter to winter lies at rest 
for many years, allowing trees, fifty to a hundred 
feet high, to grow undisturbed on the slopes beneath 
them. On their way down through the woods they 
seldom fail to make a perfectly clean sweep, stripping 
off the soil as well as the tree, clearing paths two 
or three hundred yards wide from the timber line to 



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RIDE ON AK AVALANCHE 65 

the glacier meadows or lakes, and piling their up- 
rooted trees, head downward, in rows along the sides 
of the gaps like lateral moraines. Scars and broken 
branches of the trees standing on the sides of the gaps 
record the depth of the overwhelming flood ; and when 
we come to count the annual wood-rings on the up- 
rooted trees we learn that some of these immense ava- 
lanches occur only once in a century or even at still 
wider intervals. 



A RIDE ON AN AVALANCHE 

Few Tosemite visitors ever see snow avalanches 
and fewer still know the exhilaration of riding on 
them. In all my mountaineering I have enjoyed 
only one avalanche ride, and the start was so sud- 
den and the end came so soon I had but little time 
to think of the danger that attends this sort of 
travel, though at such times one thinks fast. One 
fine Tosemite morning after a heavy snowfall, being 
eager to see as many avalanches as possible and wide 
views of the forest and summit peaks in their new 
white robes before the sunshine had time to change 
them, I set out early to climb by a side canon to the 
top of a commanding ridge a little over three thou- 
sand feet above the Valley. On account of the loose- 
ness of the SQOw that blocked the canon I knew the 

5 



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66 THE YOSEMITE 

climb would require a long time^ some three or 
four hours as I estimated; but it proved far more 
difficult than I had anticipated. Most of the way 
I sank waist deep, almost out of sight in some places. 
After spending the whole day to within half an 
hour or so of sundown, I was still several hundred 
feet below the sunmiit. Then my hopes were re- 
duced to getting up in time to see the sunset. But 
I was not to get summit views of any sort that day, 
for deep trampling near the canon head, where the 
snow was strained, started an avalanche^ and I was 
swished down to the foot of the cafion as if by en- 
chantment The wallowing ascent had taken nearly 
all day, the descent only about a minute. Wh^i the 
avalanche started I threw myself on my back and 
spread my arms to try to keep from sinking. For- 
tunately, though the grade of the cafion is very 
steep, it is not interrupted by precipices large enough 
to cause outbounding or free plunging. On no part 
of the rush was I buried. I was only moderately im- 
bedded on the surface or at times a little below it, and 
covered with a veil of back-streaming dust particles ; 
and as the whole mass beneath and about me joined 
in the flight there was no friction, though I was 
tossed here and there and lurched from side to side. 
When the avalanche swedged and came to rest I 
found myself on top of the crumpled pile without a 
bruise or scar. This was a fine experience. Haw- 



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STEEAMS m OTHER SEASONS 67 

tliome says somewheFe that steam has spiritualized 
travel; though unspiritual smells, smoke, etc., still at- 
tend steam travel This flight in what might be called 
a milky way of snow-stars was the most spiritual and 
exhilarating of all the modes of motion I have ever 
experienced. Elijah^s flight in a chariot of fire 
could hardly have been more gloriously exciting. 



THE 8TEBAMS IN OTHER SEASONS 

In the spring, after all the avalanches are down 
and the snow is melting fast, then all the Yosemite 
streams, from their fountains to their falls, sing their 
grandest songs. Countless rills make haste to the 
rivers, running and singing soon after sunrise, louder 
and louder with increasing volume until sundown; 
then they gradually fail through the frosty hours of 
the night. In this way the volume of the upper 
brandies of the river is nearly doubled during the 
day, rising and falling bb regularly as the tides of 
the sea. Then the Merced overflows its banks, flood- 
ing the meadows, sometimes almost from wall to wall 
in some places, beginning to rise towards sundown 
just when the streams on the fountains are beginning 
to diminish, the difference in time of the daily rise 
and fall being caused by the distance the upper flood 
Btreams have to travel before reaching the Vall^. 



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68 THE YOSEMITE 

In the warmest weather they seem fairly to shout for 
joy and dash their upleaping waters together like 
clapping of hands; racing down the canons with 
white manes flying in glorious exuberance of 
strength, compelling huge, sleeping boulders to wake 
up and join in their dance and song, to swell their 
exulting chorus. 

In early summer, after the flood season, the To- 
semite streams are in their prime, running crystal 
clear, deep and full but not oyerflowing their banks 
— about as deep through the night as the day, the 
difference in yolume so marked in spring being now 
too slight to be noticed. Nearly all the weather is 
cloudless and everything is at its brightest — lake, 
river, garden and forest with all their life. Most of 
the plants are in full flower. The blessed ouzels 
have built their mossy huts and are now singing their 
best songs with the streams. 

In tranquil, mellow autumn, when the yearns work 
is about done and the fruits are ripe, birds and seeds 
out of their nests, and all the landscape is glowing 
like a benevolent countenance, then the streams are 
at their lowest ebb, with scarce a memory left of their 
wild spring floods. The small tributaries that do not 
reach back to the lasting snow fountains of the sum- 
mit peaks shrink to whispering, tinkling currents. 
After the snow is gone from the basins, excepting oc- 
casional thunder^howers, they are now fed only by 



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The Three Brothers 



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;A^- NEW YO^ 

'^^'BliclibrahyI 

ASTOR. LEVOX AN© 

_[|L^N roUNOATlONS. 



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STREAMS IN OTHER SEASONS 69 

small springs whose waters are mostly evaporated in 
passing over miles of warm pavements, and in feel- 
ing their way slowly from pool to pool through the 
midst of boulders and sand. Even the main rivers 
are so low they may easily be forded, and their grand 
falls and cascades, now gentle and approachable, have 
waned to sheets of embroidery* 



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IV 

SNOW BANNERS 

BUT it ig on the moimtain tops, when they are 
laden with loose, dry snow and swept by a gale 
from the* north, that the most magnificent storm 
scenery is displayed. The peaks along the axis of 
the Bange are then decorated with resplendent ban- 
ners, some of them more than a mile long, shining, 
streaming, waving with solemn exuberant enthusi- 
asm as if celebrating some surpassingly glorious 
event 

The snow of which these banners are made falls on 
the high Sierra in most extravagant abimdance, some- 
times to a depth of fifteen or twenty feet, coming 
from the fertile clouds not in large tangled flakes 
such as one.oftentimes sees in Yosemite, seldom even 
in complete crystals, for many of the starry blossoms 
fall before they are ripe, while most of those that 4it- 
tain perfect development as six-petaled flowers are 
more or less broken by glinting and chaflng against 
one another on the way down to their work. This 
dry frosty snow is prepared for the grand banner- 
waving celebrations by the action of the wind. In- 
stead of at once finding rest like that which falls into 

70 



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SNOW BANNERS 71 

the tranqtdl depths of the forest^ it is shoved and 
rolled and beaten against boulders and out-jutting 
rocks, swirled in pits and hollows like sand in river 
pot-holes, and ground into sparkling dust And 
when storm winds find this snow-dust in a loose con- 
dition on the slopes above the timber-line they toss 
it back into the sky and sweep it onward from peak 
to peak in the form of smooth regular banners, or in 
cloudy drifts, according to the velocity and direction 
of the wind, and the conformation of the slopes over 
which it is driven. While thus flying through the 
air a small portion escapes from the mountains to the 
sky as vapor; But far the greater part is at length 
locked fast in bossy overcurling cornices along the 
ridges, or in stratified sheets in the glacier cirques, 
some of it to replenish the small residual glaciers and 
remain silent and rigid for centuries before it is finally 
melted and sent singing down home to the sea. 

But, though snow-dust and storm-winds abound on 
the mountains, regular shapely banners are, for causes 
we shall presently see, seldom produced. During the 
five winters that I spent in Tosemite I made many 
excursions to high points above the walls in all kinds 
of weather to see what was going on outside ; from all 
my lofty outlooks I saw only one banner-storm that 
seemed in every way perfect This was in the win- 
ter of 1878, when the snow-laden peaks were swept 
by a powerful norther. I was awakened early in 



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72 THE TOSEMITE 

the morning by a wild storm-wind and of course I 
had to make haste to the middle of the Valley to 
enjoy it. Bugged torrents and avalanches from the 
main wind-flood overhead were roaring down the side 
canons and over the cliffs^ arousing the rocks and 
the trees and the streams alike into glorious hurrah- 
ing enthusiasm, shaking the whole Valley into one 
huge song. Yet inconceivable as it must seem even 
to those who love all Nature^s wildness, the storm 
was telling its story on the mountains in still grander 
characters. 



A WONDERFUL WINTER SCENE 

I had long been anxious to study some i>oints in 
th& structure of the ice-hill at the foot of the Upper 
Yosemite Fall, but, as I have already explained, 
blinding spray had hitherto prevented me from get- 
ting sufficiently near it. This, morning the entire 
body of the Fall was oftentimes torn into gauzy strips 
and blown horizontally along the face of the cliff, 
leaving the ice-hill dry; and while making my way 
to the top of Fern Ledge to seize so favorable an op- 
portunity to look down its throat, the peaks of the 
Merced group came in sight over the boulder of the 
South Dome, each waving a white glowing banner 
against the dark blue sky, as r^ular in form and 



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WONDERFUt WINTEE SCENE 78 

firm and fine in texture as if it were made of silk. 
So rare and splendid a picture, of course, smothered 
everything else and I at once began to scramble and 
wallow up the snow-choked Indian Canon to a ridge 
about 8000 feet high, commanding a general view of 
the main summits along the axis of the Sange, feeling 
assured I should find them bannered still more glori- 
ously ; nor was I in the least disappointed. I reached 
the top of the ridge in four or five hours, and through 
an opening in the woods the most imposing wind- 
storm effect I ever beheld came full in sight; un- 
numbered mountains rising sharply into the cloudless 
sky, their bases solid white, their sides plashed with 
snow, like ocean rocks with foam, and on every sum- 
mit a magnificent silvery banner, from two thousand 
to six thousand feet in height, slender at the point of 
attachment, and widening gradually until about a 
thousand or fifteen hundred feet in breadth, and as 
shapely and as substantial looking in texture as the 
banners of the finest silk, all streaming and waving 
free and clear in the sun^low with nothing to blur 
the sublime picture they made. 

Fancy yourself standing beside me on this To- 
semite Ridge. There is a strange garish glitter in 
the air and the gale drives wildly overhead, but you 
feel nothing of its violence, for you are looking out 
through a sheltered opening in the woods, as through 
a meadow. In the immediate foreground there is a 



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74 THE YOSEMITE 

forest of silver firs, their foliage warm yellow-green, 
and the snow beneath them is strewn with their 
plumes, plucked off hj the storm ; and beyond a broad, 
ridgy, canon-furrowed, dome-dotted middle ground, 
darkened here and there with belts of pines, you be- 
hold the lofty snow-laden mountains in glorious array, 
waving their banners with jubilant enthusiasm as if 
shouting aloud for joy. They are twenty miles away, 
but you would not wish them nearer, for every feature 
is distinct, and the whole wonderful show is seen in 
its right proportions, like a painting on the sky. 

And now after this general view, mark how sharply 
the ribs and buttresses and summits of the mountains 
are defined, excepting the portions veiled by the ban- 
ners; how gracefully and nobly the banners are wav- 
ing in accord with the throbbing of the wind-flood ; 
how trimly each is attached to the very summit of its 
peak like a streamer at a mast-head ; how bright and 
glowing white they are, and how finely their fading 
fringes are penciled on the sky I See how solid white 
and opaque they are at the point of attachment and 
how fihny and translucent toward the end, so that the 
parts of the peaks past which they are streaming look 
dim as if seen Ihrough a veil of ground glass. And 
see how some of the longest of the banners on the 
highest peaks are streaming perfectly free from peak 
to peak across intervening notches or passes, while 
others overlap and partly hide one another. 



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WONDERFUL WINTER SCENE 75 

Ab to their formation^ we find that the main causes 
of the wondrous beauty and perfection of those we are 
looking at are the favorable direction and force of 
the wind, the abundance of snow-dust, and the form 
of the north sides of the peaks. In general, the north 
sides are concave in both their horizontal and vertical 
sections, having been sculptured into this shape 
by the residual glaciers that lingered in the protecting 
northern shadows, while the sun-beaten south sides, 
having never been subjected to this kind of glaciation, 
are convex or irregular. It is essential, therefore, 
not only that the wind should move with great ve- 
locity and steadiness to supply a suflSciently^ copious 
and continuous stream of snow-dust, but that it should 
come from the north. No perfect banner is ever 
hung on the Sierra peaks by the south wind. Had 
the gale to-day blown from the south, leaving the 
other conditions unchanged, only swirling, interfer- 
ing, cloudy drifts would have been produced ; for the 
snow, instead of being spouted straight up and over 
the tops of the peaks in condensed currents to be 
drawn out as streamers, would have been driven over 
the convex southern slopes from peak to peak like 
white pearly fog. 

It appears, therefore, that shadows in great part 
determine not only the forms of lofty ice mountains, 
but also those of the snow banners that the wild 
winds hang up on them. 



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76 THE TOSEMITE 



EARTHQUAKE STORMS 

The avalanclie taluses^ leaning against the walls 
at intervals of a mile or two, are among the most 
striking and interesting of the secondary features 
of the Valley. They are from about three to five 
hundred feet high, made up of huge, angular, well- 
preserved, unshifting boulders, and instead of be- 
ing slowly weathered from the cliffs like ordinary 
taluses, they were all formed suddenly and simul- 
taneously by a great earthquake that occurred at 
least three centuries ago. And though thus hurled 
into existence in a few seconds or minutes, they are 
the least changeable of all the Sierra soil-beds. Ex- 
cepting those which were launched directly into the 
channels of swift rivers, scarcely one of their wedged 
and interlacing boulders has moved since the day of 
their creation ; and though mostly made up of huge 
blocks of granite, many of them from ten to fifty feet 
cube, weighing thousands of tons with only a few 
small chips, trees and shrubs make out to live and 
thrive on them and even delicate herbaceous plants 
— draperia, collomia, zauschneria, etc., soothing and 
coloring their wild rugged slopes with gardens and 
groves. 

I was long in doubt on some points concerning the 
origin of these taluses. Plainly enough they were de- 



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'if]E NEW YORKI 

rrBLic library: 

i 

A^.TOR. LF.NOX Ah*© J 
T. DfN KOUNOATIONS, » 



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EABTHQUAEE STOEMS 77 

rived from the cliffs above them^ because they are of 
the size of scars on the wall, the rough angular surface 
of which contrasts with the rounded, glaciated, unf rac- 
tured parts. It was plain, too, that instead of being 
made up of material slowly and gradually weathered 
from the cliffs like ordinary taluses, almost every one 
of them had been formed suddenly in a single ava- 
lanche, and had not been increased in size during the 
last three or four centuries, for trees three or four 
hundred years old are growing on them, some stand- 
ing at the top close to the wall without a bruise or 
broken branch, showing that scarcely a single boulder 
had ever fallen among them. Furthermore, all these 
taluses throughout the Range seemed by the trees and 
lichens growing on them to be of the same age. All 
the phenomena thus pointed straight to a grand an- 
cient earthquake. But for years I left the question 
open, and went on from canon to cafion, observing 
again and again; measuring the heights of taluses 
throughout the Range on both flanks, and the varia- 
tions in the angles of their surface slopes; studying 
the way their boulders had been assorted and re- 
lated and brought to rest, and their correspondence 
in size with the cleavage joints of the cliffs from 
whence they were derived, cautious about makilig up 
my mind. But at last all doubt as to their forma- 
tion vanished. 

At half-past two o'clock of a moonlit morning in 



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18 THE YOSEMITE 

March, I was awakened by a tremendous earthquake, 
and though I had never before enjoyed a storm of 
this sort, the strange thrilling motion could not be 
mistaken, and I ran out of my cabin, both glad and 
frightened, shouting, " A noble earthquake! A noble 
earthquake ! *^ feeling sure I was going to learn some- 
thing. The shocks were so violent and varied, and 
succeeded one another so closely, that I had to balance 
myself carefully in walking as if on the deck of a 
ship among waves, and it seemed impossible that the 
high cliffs of the Valley could escape being shattered. 
In particular, I feared that the sheer-fronted Sentinel 
Rock, towering above my cabin, would be shaken 
down, and I took shelter back of a large yellow pine, 
hoping that it might protect me from at least the 
smaller outbounding boulders. For a minute or two 
the shocks became more and more violent — flashing 
horizontal thrusts mixed with a few twists and bat- 
tering, explosive, upheaving jolts, — as if Nature were 
wrecking her Tosemite temple, and getting ready to 
build a still better one. 

I was now convinced before a single boulder had 
fallen that earthquakes were the talus-makers and 
positive proof soon came. It was a calm moonlight 
night, and no sound was heard for the first minute 
or so, save low, muffled, underground, bubbling rum- 
blings, and the whispering and rustling of the agi- 
tated trees, as if Nature were holding her breath. 



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EARTHQUAKE STORMS 79 

Then^ suddenly^ out of the strange silence and strange 
motion there came a tremendous roar. The Eagle 
Rock on the south wall, about a half a mile up the 
Valley, gave way and I saw it falling in thousands of 
the great boulders I had so long been studying, pour- 
ing to the Valley floor in a free curve luminous from 
friction, making a terribly sublime spectacle — an 
arc of glowing, passionate fire, fifteen hundred feet 
span, as true in form and as serene in beauty as a 
rainbow in the midst of the stupendous, roaring rock- 
storm. The sound was so tremendously deep and 
broad and earnest, the whole earth like a living crea- 
ture seemed to have at last found a voice and to be 
calling to her sister planets. In trying to tell some- 
thing of the size of this awful sound it seems to me 
that if all the thunder of all the storms I had ever 
heard were condensed into one roar it would not equal 
this roii-roar at the birth of a mountain talus. 
Think, then, of the roar that arose to heaven at the 
simultaneous birth of all the thousands of ancient 
canon-taluses throughout the length and breadth of 
the Range ! 

The first severe shocks were soon over, and eager 
to examine the new-bom talus I ran up the Valley in 
the moonlight and climbed upon it before the huge 
blocks, after their fiery flight, had come to complete 
rest. They were slowly settling into their places, 
chafing, grating against one another, groaning, and 



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80 THE YOSEMITE 

whispering; but no motion was visible except in a 
stream of small fragments pattering down the face of 
the diff. A doud of dust particles, lighted by the 
moon, floated out across the whole breadth of the Val- 
ley, forming a ceiling that lasted until after sunrise, 
and the air was filled with the odor of crushed Doug- 
las spruces from a grove that had been mowed down 
and mashed like weeds. 

After the ground began to calm I ran across the 
meadow to the river to see in what direction it was 
flowing and was glad to find that dovm the Valley 
was still down* Its waters were muddy from por- 
tions of its banks having given way, but it was flow- 
ing around its curves and over its ripples and shal- 
lows with ordinary tones and gestures. The mud 
would soon be cleared away and the raw slips on the 
banks would be the only visible record of the shaking 
it suffered. 

The Upper Yosemite Fall, glowing white in the 
moonlight, seemed to know nothing of the earthquake, 
manifesting no change in form or voice, as far as I 
could see or hear. 

After a second startling shock, about half-past 
three o^dock, the ground continued to tremble gently, 
and smooth, hollow rumbling sounds, not always dis- 
tinguishable from the rounded, bumping, explosive 
tones of the falls, came from deep in the mountains 
in a northern direction. 



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EAUTHQUAEE STOEMS 81 

The few Indians fled from their huts to the middle 
of the Valley, fearing that angry spirits were trying to 
kill them; and, as I afterward learned, most of the 
Tosemite tribe, who were spending the winter at their 
village on Btdl Creek forty miles away, were so ter- 
rified that they ran into the river and washed them- 
selves, — getting themselves clean enough to say their 
prayers, I suppose, or to die. I asked Dick, one of 
the Indians with whom I was acquainted, "What 
made the ground shake and jump so much ? " He 
only shook his head and said, " No good. No good,^^ 
and looked appealingly to me to give him hope that 
his life was to be spared. 

In the morning I found the few white settlers as- 
sembled in front of the old Hutchings Hotel com- 
paring notes and meditating flight to the lowlands, 
seemingly as sorely frightened as the Indians. 
Shortly after sunrise a low, blimt, muffled rumbling, 
like distant thunder, was followed by another series 
of shocks, which, though not nearly so severe as the 
first, made the cliffs and domes tremble like jelly, 
and the big pines and oaks thrill and swish and wave 
their branches with startling effect Then Ihe talkers 
were suddenly hushed, and the solemnity on their 
faces was sublime. One in particular of these winter 
neighbors, a somewhat speculative thinker with whom 
I had often conversed, was a firm believer in the 
cataclysmic origin of the Valley ; and I now jokingly 



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82 THE YOSEMITE 

remarked that his wild tumble-down-and-^igulfment 
hypothesis might soon be proved, since these under- 
ground rumblings and shakings might be the fore- 
runners of another Tosemite-making cataclysm, 
which wotdd perhaps double the depth of the Valley 
by swallowing the floor, leaving the ends of the roads 
and trails dangling three or four thousand feet in the 
air. Just then came the third series of shocks, and 
it was fine to see how awfully silent and solemn he 
became. His belief in the existence of a mysterious 
abyss, into which the suspended floor of the Valley 
and all the domes and battlements of the walls might 
at any moment go roaring down, mightily troubled 
him. To diminish his fears and laugh him into 
something like reasonable faith, I said, " Come, cheer 
up ; smile a little and clap your hands, now that kind 
Mother Earth is trotting us on her knee to amuse us 
and make us good.^' But the well-meant joke seemed 
irreverent and utterly failed, as if only prayerful ter- 
ror could rightly belong to the wild beauty-making 
business. Even after all the heavier shocks were 
over I could do nothing to reassure him. On the 
contrary, he handed me the keys of his little store 
to keep, saying that with a companion of like mind 
he was going to the lowlands to stay until the fate 
of poor, trembling Tosemite was settled. In vain I 
rallied them on their fears, calling attention to the 



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EARTHQUAKE STORMS 88 

strength of the granite walls of our Valley home, the 
very best and solidest masonry in the world, and less 
likely to collapse and sink than the sedimentary low- 
lands to which they were looking for safety ; and say- 
ing that in any case they sometime would have to die, 
and so grand a burial was not to be slighted But 
they were too seriously panic-stricken to get comfort 
from anything I could say. 

During the third severe shock the trees were so 
violently shaken that the birds flew out with fright- 
ened cries. In particular, I noticed two robins flying 
in terror from a leafless oak, the branches of which 
swished and quivered as if struck by a heavy batter- 
ing-ram. Exceedingly interesting were the flashing 
and quivering of the elastic needles of the pines in 
the sunlight and the waving up and down of the 
branches while the trunks stood rigid. There was no 
swaying, waving or swivelling as in windnstorms, but 
quick, quivering jerks, and at times the heavy tasseled 
branches moved as if they had all been pressed down 
against the trunk and suddenly let go, to spring up 
and vibrate until they came to rest again. Only the 
owls seemed to be undisturbed. Before the rumbling 
echoes had died away a hollow-voiced owl began to 
hoot in philosophical tranquillity from near the edge 
of the new talus as if nothing extraordinary had oo- 
ourred, although, perhaps, he was curious to know 



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84 THE YOSEMITE 

what all the noise was about. His " hoot-too-hoot-too- 
whoo " might have meant, " what 's a* the steer, kim- 
mer?" 

It was long before the Valley found perfect rest. 
The rocks trembled more or less every day for over 
two months, and I kept a bucket of water on my table 
to learn what I could of the movements. The blunt 
thunder in the depths of the mountains was usually 
followed by sudden jarring, horizontal thrusts from 
the northward, often succeeded by twisting, upjolting 
movements. More than a month after the first great 
shock, when I was standing on a fallen tree up the 
Valley near Laments winter cabin, I heard a distinct 
bubbling thunder from the direction of Tenaya Canon. 
Carlo, a large intelligent St. Bernard dog standing be- 
side me seemed greatly astonished, and looked intently 
in that direction with mouth open and uttered a low 
Wouf! as if saying, " What 's that ? " He must have 
known that it was not thunder, though like it. The 
air was perfectly still, not the faintest breath of wind 
perceptible, and a fine, mellow, sunny hush pervaded 
everything, in the midst of which came that subter- 
ranean thunder. Then, while we gazed and listened, 
came the corresponding shocks, distinct as if some 
mighty hand had shaken the ground. After the 
sharp horizontal jars died away, they were followed 
by a gentle rocking and undulating of the ground so 
distinct that Carlo looked at the log on which he was 



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■"^^IC LlBRARYl 

A8T0B, LEN9X AND 
TILOEN FOUNOATIOM. 



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EAETHQUAKE STORMS 85 

standing to see who was shaking it. It was the sea- 
son of flooded meadows and the pools about me, calm 
as sheets of glass, were suddenly thrown into low 
ruffling waves. 

Judging by its effects, this Yosemite, or Inyo 
earthquake, as it is sometimes called, was gentle as 
compared with the one that gave rise to the grand 
talus system of the Range and did so much for the 
canon scenery. Nature, usually so deliberate in her 
operations, then created, as we have seen, a new set 
of features, simply by giving the mountains a shake 
— changing not only the high peaks and cliffs, but 
the streams. As soon as these rock avalanches fell, 
the streams began to sing new songs; for in many 
places thousands of boulders were hurled into their 
channels, roughening and half-damming them, com- 
pelling the waters to surge and roar in rapids where 
before they glided smoothly. Some of the streams 
were completely dammed; driftwood, leaves, etc., 
gradually filling the interstices between the boulders, 
thus giving rise to lakes and level reaches ; and these 
again, after being gradually filled in, were changed 
to meadows, through which the streams are now si- 
lently meandering; while at the same time some of 
the taluses took the places of old meadows and groves. 
Thus rough places were made smooth, and smooth 
places rough. But, on the whole, by what at first 
sight seemed pure confounded confusion and ruin. 



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86 THE YOSEMITE 

the landscapes were enriched; for gradually every 
talus was covered with groves and gardens^ and made 
a finely proportioned and ornamental base for the 
cliffs. In this work of beauty, every boulder is pre- 
pared and measured and put in its place.more thought- 
fully than are the stones of temples. If for a mo- 
ment you are inclined to regard these taluses as mere 
draggled, chaotic dumps, climb to the top of one of 
them, and run down without any haggling, puttering 
hesitation, boldly jumping from boulder to boulder 
with even speed. You will then find your feet play- 
ing a tune, and quickly discover the music and poetry 
of these magnificent rock piles — a fine lesson ; and 
all Nature's wildness tells the same story — the 
shocks and outbursts of earthquakes, volcanoes, 
geysers, roaring, thundering waves and fioods, the 
silent uprush of sap in plants, storms of every sort — 
each and all are the orderly beauty-making love-beats 
of Nature's heart. 



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THE TREES OP THE VALLEY 

THE most influential of the Valley trees is the yel- 
low pine (Firms ponderosa). It attains its 
noblest dimensions on beds of water-washed, coarsely- 
stratified moraine material, between the talus slopes 
and meadows, dry on the surface, well-watered be- 
low and where not too closely assembled in groves 
the branches reach nearly to the ground, forming 
grand spires 200 to 220 feet in height. The largest 
that I have measured is standing alone almost op- 
posite the Sentinel Bock, or a little to the west- 
ward of it It is a little over eight feet in diameter 
and about 220 feet high. Climbing these grand 
trees, especially when they are waving and singing 
in worship in wind-storms, is a glorious experience. 
Ascending from the lowest branch to the topmost 
is like stepping up stairs through a blaze of white 
light, every needle thrilling and shining as if with 
religious ecstasy. 

Unfortunately there are but few sugar pines in the 
Valley, though in the King's yosemite they are in 

glorious abundance. The incense cedar (Libocedrus 

87 



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88 THE YOSEMITE 

decurrens) with cinnamon-colored bark and yellow- 
green foliage is one of the most interesting of the 
Yosemite trees. Some of them are 150 feet high, 
from six to ten feet in diameter, and they are never 
out of sight as you saunter among the yellow pines. 
Their bright brown shafts and towers of flat, frond- 
like branches make a striking feature of the land- 
scapes throughout all the seasons. In midwinter, 
when most of the other trees are asleep, this cedar 
puts forth its flowers in millions, — the pistillate pale 
green and inconspicuous, but the staminate bright 
yellow, tingeing all the branches and making the trees 
as they stand in the snow look like gigantic golden- 
rods. The branches, outspread in flat plumes and, 
beautifully fronded, sweep gracefully downward and 
outward, except those near the top, which aspire ; the 
lowest, especially in youth and middle age, droop to 
the ground, overlapping one another, shedding off rain 
and snow like shingles, and making fine tents for 
birds and campers. This tree frequently lives more 
than a thousand years and is well worthy its place 
beside the great pines and the Douglas spruce. 

The two largest specimens I know of the Douglas 
spruce, about eight feet in diameter, are growing at 
the foot of the Liberty Cap near the Nevada Fall, 
and on the terminal moraine of the small residual 
glacier that lingered in the shady Illilouette Canon. 

After the conifers, the most important of the 



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THE TREES OF THE VALLEY 89 

YosOTute trees are the oaks, two species; the Cali- 
fornia live-oak (Quercus agrifolia)^ with black 
trunks, reaching a thickness of from four to nearly 
seven feet, wide spreading branches and bright deeply- 
scalloped leaves. It occupies the greater part of the 
broad sandy flats of the upper end of the Valley, and 
is the species that yields the acorns so highly prized 
by the Lidians and woodpeckers. 

The other species is the mountain live-oak, or gold- 
cup oak {Quercus chrysolepis)^ a sturdy mountaineer 
of a tree, growing mostly on the earthquake taluses 
and benches of the sunny north wall of the Valley. 
In tough, unwedgeable, knotty strength, it is the oak 
of oaks, a magnificent tree. 

The largest and most picturesque specimen in the 
Valley is near the foot of the Tenaya Fall, a ro- 
mantic spot seldom seen on account of the rough 
trouble of getting to it It is planted on three huge 
boulders and yet manages to draw sufficient moisture 
and food from this craggy soil to maintain itself in 
good health. It is twenty feet in circumference, 
measured above a large branch between three and four 
feet in diameter that has been broken off. The main 
knotty trunk seems to be made up of craggy granite 
boulders like those on which it stands, being about the 
same color as the mossy, lichened boulders and about 
as rough. Two moss-lined caves near the groimd 
open back into the trunk, one on the north side, the 



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90 THE YOSEMITE 

other on the west) forming picturesque, romantic 
seats. The largest of the main branches is eighteen 
feet and nine inches in circumference, and some of 
the long pendulous branchlets droop over the stream 
at the foot of the fall where it is gray with spray. 
The leaves are glossy yellow-green, ever in motion 
from the wind from the falL It is a fine place to 
dream in, with falls, cascades, cool rocks lined with 
hypnum three inches thick ; shaded with maple, dog- 
wood, alder, willow; grand clumps of chain-ferns 
where no hand may touch them; light filtering 
through translucent leaves; oaks fifty feet high; 
lilies eight feet high in a filled lake basin near by, 
and the finest libocedrus groves and tallest ferns and 
goldenrods. 

In the main river canon below the Vernal Fall and 
on the shady south side of the Valley there are a few 
groves of the silver fir (Abies concolor)^ and superb 
forests of the magnificent species around the rim of 
the Valley. 

On the tops of the domes is found the sturdy, 
storm-enduring red cedar {Jvmperus occidentalis) , 
It never makes anything like a forest here, but 
stands out separate and independent in the wind, 
clinging by slight joints to the rock, with scarce a 
handful of soil in sight of it, seeming to depend 
chiefly on snow and air for nourishment, and yet it 



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THE TKEES OF THE VALLEY 91 

has maintained tough health on this diet for two 
thousand jears or more. The largest hereabouts are 
from five to six feet in diameter and fifty feet in 
height 

The principal river-side trees are poplar, alder, 
willow, broad-leaved maple, and Nuttall's flowering 
dogwood. The poplar {Poprihis trichocarpa)^ often 
called balm-of-Gilead from the gum on its buds, is a 
tall tree, towering above its companions and grace- 
fully embowering the banks of the river. Its 
abundant foliage turns bright yellow in the fall, and 
the Lidian-summer sunshine sifts through it in de- 
lightful tones over the slow-gliding waters when they 
are at their lowest ebb. 

Some of the involucres of the flowering dogwood 
measure six to eight inches in diameter, and the whole 
tree when in flower looks as if covered with snow. 
In the spring when the streams are in flood it is the 
whitest of trees. In Indian summer the leaves be- 
come bright crimson, making a still grander show 
than the flowers. 

The broad-leaved maple and mountain maple are 
found mostly in the cool canons at the head of the 
Valley, spreading their branches in beautiful arches 
over the foaming streams. 

Scattered here and there are a few other trees, 
mostly small — the mountain mahogany, cherry, 



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02 THE YOSEMITE 

chestnut-oaky and laurel The California nutmi^ 
(Torreya calif omica)^ a handsome evergreen, be- 
longing to the yew family, forms small groves near 
the cascades a mile or two below the foot of the 
Valley. 



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I KB 

ftk 



'JilE NEW YOfiK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTCm, LENOK AN9 
TILDEN fOUNOATlOHa. 



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VI 

THE FOBEST TREES IN GENERAL 

FOR the use of the ever-increasing number of Yo- 
semite visitors who make extensive excursions 
into the mountains beyond the Valley, a sketch of the 
forest trees in general will probably be found useful. 
The different species are arranged in zones and sec- 
tions^ which brings the forest as a whole within the 
comprehension of every observer. These species are 
always found as controlled by the climates of differ- 
ent elevations, by soil and by the comparative strength 
of each species in taking and holding possession 
of the ground ; and so appreciable are these relations 
the traveler need never be at a loss in determin- 
ing within a few hundred feet his elevation above sea- 
level by the trees alone ; for, notwithstanding some of 
the species range upward for several thousand feet 
and all pass one another more or less, yet even those 
species possessing the greatest vertical range are avail- 
able in measuring the elevation; inasmuch as they 
take on new forms corresponding with variations and 
altituda Entering the lower fringe of the forest 
composed of Douglas oaks and Sabine pines, the trees 

98 



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94 THE TOSEMITE 

grow 80 far apart that not one-twentieth of the sur- 
face of the ground is in shade at noon. After ad- 
vandng fifteen or twenty miles towards Yosemite and 
making an ascent of irom two to three thousand feet 
you reach the lower margin of the main pine belt, 
composed of great sugar pine, yellow pine, incense 
cedar and sequoia, ^ext you come to the magnifi- 
cent silver-fir belt and lastly to the upper pine belt, 
which sweeps up to the feet of the summit peaks in a 
dwarfed fringe, to a height of from ten to twelve 
thousand feet. That this general order of distribu- 
tion depends on climate as affected by height above 
the sea, is seen at once, but there are other harmonies 
that become manifest only after observation and 
study. One of the most interesting of these is the 
arrangement of the forest in long curving bands, 
braided together into lace-like patterns in some places 
and outspread in charming variety. The key to 
these striking arrangements is the system of ancient 
glaciers ; where they fiowed the trees followed, tracing 
their courses along the sides of canons, over ridges, 
and high plateaus. The cedar of Lebanon, said Sir 
Joseph Hooker, occurs upon one of the moraines 
of an ancient glacier. All the forests of the Sierra 
are growing upon moraines, but moraines vanish like 
the glaciers that make them. Every storm that falls 
upon them wastes them, carrying away their decay- 
ing, disintegrating material into new formations, until 



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FOREST TREES 96 

they are no longer recognizable without tracing their 
transitional forms down from the range still in proc- 
ess of formation^ — in some places through those that 
are more and more ancient and more obscured by 
vegetation and all kinds of post-glacial weathering. 
It appears, therefore, that the Sierra forests indicate 
the extent and positions of ancient moraines as well 
as they do belts of climate. 

One will have no diflBculty in knowing the Nnt 
Pine (Pinua Sahtniana)^ for it is the first conifer met 
in ascending the Range from the west, springing up 
here and there among Douglas oaks and thickets of 
ceanothus and manzanita ; its extreme upper limit be- 
ing about 4000 feet above the sea, its lower about 
from 500 to 800 feet. It is remarkable for its loose, 
airy, wide-branching habit, and thin gray foliage. 
Full-grown specimens are from forty to fifly feet in 
height and from two to three feet in diameter. The 
trunk usually divides into three or four main branches 
about fifteen or twenty feet from the ground that, 
after bearing away from one another, shoot straight up 
and form separate summits. Their slender, grayish 
needles are from eight to twelve inches long, and in- 
clined to droop, contrasting with the rigid, dark-col- 
ored trunk and branches. No other tree of my 
acquaintance so substantial in its body has foliage so 
thin and pervious to the light. The cones are from 
five to eight inches long and about as laige in thick- 



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96 THE YOSEMITE 

ness; rich chocolate-brown in color and protected by 
strong, down-curving hooka which terminate the scales, 
lifevertheless the little Douglas squirrel can open 
them. Indians climb the trees like bears and beat off 
the cones or recklessly cut off the more fruitful 
branches with hatchets, while the squaws gather and 
roast th^n until the scales open sufficiently to allow 
the hard-shell seeds to be beaten out. The curious 
little Pinus attermata is found at an elevation of from 
1500 to 3000 feet, growing in close groves and belts. 
It is exceedingly slender and graceful, although trees 
that chance to stand alone send out very long, curved 
branches, making a striking contrast to the ordi- 
nary grove form. The foliage is of the same peculiar 
gray-green color as that of the nut pine, and is worn 
about as loosely, so that the body of the tree is scarcely 
obscured by it. At the age of seven or eight years 
it begins to bear cones in whorls on the main axis, 
and as they never fall off the trunk is soon picture 
esquely dotted with them. Branches also soon be- 
come fruitful. The average size of the tree is about 
thirty or forty feet in height and twelve to fourteen 
inches in diameter. The cones are about four inches 
long, and covered with a sort of varnish and gum, 
rendering them impervious to moisture. 

No observer can fail to notice the admirable adapta- 
tion of this curious pine to the fire-swept regions 
where alone it is found. After a running fire has 



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THE SUGAR PINE M 

scorched and killed it the cones open and the gronnd 
baieath it is as one sown broadcast^ with all the seeds 
ripened during its whole life. Then np spring a 
crowd of bright^ hopeful seedlings^ giving beauty for 
ashes in lavish abundance. 



THE SUGAR PINE, KING OP PINE TREES 

Of all the world's eighty or ninety species of pine 
trees, the Sugar Pine (Pin/us Lambertiana) is king, 
surpassing all others, not merely in size but in lordly 
beauty and majesty. In the Tosemite region it 
grows at an elevation of from 3000 to 7000 feet 
above the sea and attains most perfect development at 
a height of about 5000 feet The largest specimens 
are commonly about 220 feet high and from six to 
eight feet in diameter four feet from the ground, 
though some grand old patriarch may be met here and 
there that has enjoyed six or eight centuries of storms 
and attained a thickness of ten or even twelve feet, 
still sweet and fresh in every fiber. The trunk is a 
remarkably smooth, round, delicately-tapered shaft, 
straight and regular as if turned in a lathe, mostly 
without limbs, purplish brown in color and usually 
enlivened with tufts of a yellow lichen. Toward the 
head of this magnificent column long branches sweep 
gracefully outward and downward, sometimes form- 



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98 THE YOSEMITE 

ing a palm-like crown, but far more impressive than 
any palm crown I ever beheld. The needles are 
about three inches long in fasicles of five, and ar- 
ranged in rather close tassels at the ends of slender 
branchlets that clothe the long outsweeping limbs. 
How well they sing in the wind, and how strikingly 
harmonious an effect is made by the long cylindrical 
cones, depending loosely from the ends of the long 
branches! The cones are about fifteen to eighteen 
inches long, and three in diameter; green, shaded 
with dark purple on their sunward sides. They are 
ripe in September and October of the second year 
from the flower. Then the flat, thin scales open and 
the seeds take wing, but the empty cones become still 
more beautiful and effective as decorations, for their 
diameter is nearly doubled by the spreading of the 
scales, and their color changes to yellowish brown 
while th^ remain, swinging on the tree all the follow- 
ing winter and summer, and continue effectively beau- 
tiful even on the ground many years after they fall. 
The wood is deliciously fragrant, fine in grain and 
texture and creamy yellow, as if formed of condensed 
sunbeams. The sugar from which the common name 
is derived is, I think, the best of sweets. It exudes 
from the heart-wood where wounds have been made by 
forest fires or the ax, and forms irregular, crisp, 
candy-like kernels of considerable size, something 
like clusters of resin beads. When fresh it is white, 



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THE SUGAR PINE 99 

but because most of the wounds on which it is found 
have been made by fire the sap is stained and a hard- 
ened sugar becomes brown. Indians are fond of it^ 
but on account of its laxative properties only small 
quantities may be eaten. No tree lover will ever for- 
get his first meeting with the sugar pine. In most 
pine trees there is the sameness of expression which 
to most people is apt to become monotonous, for the 
typical spiral form of conifers, however beautiful, 
affords little scope for appreciable individual char- 
acter. The sugar pine is as free from convention- 
alities as the most picturesque oaks. No two are 
alike, and though they toss out their immense arms in 
what might seem extravagant gestures they never lose 
their expression of serene majesty. They are the 
priests of pines and seem ever to be addressing the 
surrounding forest The yellow pine is found grow- 
ing with them on warm hillsides, and the silver 
fir on cool northern slopes; but, noble as these 
are, the sugar pine is easily king, and spreads his 
arms above them in blessing while they rock and wave 
in sign of recognition. The main branches are some- 
times forty feet long, yet persistently simple, seldom 
dividing at all, excepting near the end ; but anything 
like a bare cable appearance is prevented by the small, 
tasseled branchlets that extend all around them ; and 
when these superb limbs sweep out symmetrically on 
all sides, a crown sixty or seventy feet wide is formed, 



53G7^G 

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100 THE YOSEMITE 

which^ graoefolly poised on the summit of the noble 
shaft, is a glorious object Commonly, however, 
there is a preponderance of limbs toward the east, 
away from the direction of the prevailing winds. 

Although so unconventional when full-grown, the 
sugar pine is a remarkably proper tree in youth — a 
strict follower of coniferous fashions — slim, erect, 
with leafy branches kept exactly in place, each taper- 
ing in outline and terminating in a spiry point The 
successive forms between the cautious neatness of 
youth and the bold freedom of maturity offer a de- 
lightful study. At the age of fifty or sixty years, lie 
shy, fashionable form begins to be broken up. Spe- 
cialized branches push out and bend witib the great 
cones, giving individual character, that becomes more 
marked from year to year. Its most constant com- 
panion is the yellow , pine. The Douglas spruce, 
libocedrus, sequoia, and the silver fir are also 
more or less associated with it; but on many 
deep-soiled mountain-sides, at an elevation of about 
6000 feet above the sea, it forms the bulk of the 
forest, filling every swell and hollow and down- 
plunging ravine. The majestic crowns, approaching 
each other in bold curves, make a glorious canopy 
through which the tempered sunbeams pour, silver- 
ing the needles, and gilding the massive boles and 
the flowery, park-like ground into a scene of enchant- 
ment 



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THE NLW YOaK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



A8T0R, LENOX AtlS 
TILDE N F0UN0ATIOW8. 



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Pem Gardens and Oak Groves of Hetch-Hetchy Valley 



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THE YELLOW PINE 101 

On the most sunny slopes the white-flowered, fra- 
grant chamaebatia is spread like a carpet, bright- 
ened during early summer with the crimson sarco- 
des, the wild rose, and innimierable violets and gil- 
ias. Not even in the shadiest no<^ will you find 
any rank, untidy weeds or unwholesome darkness. 
In the north sides of ridges the boles are more 
slender, and the ground is mostly occupied by an 
underbrush of hazel, ceanothus, and flowering dog- 
wood, but not so densely as to prevent the traveler 
from sauntering where he will; while the crowning 
branches are never impenetrable to the rays of the 
sun, and never so interblended as to lose their indi- 
viduality. 



THE YELLOW OR SILVER PINE . 

The Silver Pine (Pinus ponderom), or Yellow 
Pin^ as it is oonmionly called, ranks second among 
the pines of the Sierra as a lumber tree, and almost 
rivals the sugar pine in stature and nobleness of 
port Because of its superior powers of enduring 
variations of climate and soil, it has a more extensive 
range than any other conifer growing on the Sierra. 
On the western slope it is first met at an elevation 
of about 2000 feet, and extends nearly to the 
upper limit of the timber-line. Thence, crossing the 



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102 THE YOSEMITE 

range by the lowest passes, it descends to the eastern 
base, and pushes out for a considerable distance into 
the hot, volcanic plains, growing bravely upon well- 
watered moraines,. gravelly lake basins, climbing old 
volcanoes and dropping ripe cones among ashes and 
cinders. 

The average size of full-grown trees on the western 
slope, where it is associated with the sugar pine, 
is a little less than 200 feet in height and from 
five to six feet in diameter, though specimens con- 
siderably larger may easily be found. Where there 
is plenty of free simshine and other conditions are 
favorable, it presents a striking contrast in form to 
the sugar pine, being a symmetrical spire, formed 
of a straight round trunk, clad with innumerable 
branches that are divided over and over again. Un- 
like the Yosemite form about one-half of the trunk is 
commonly branchless, but where it grows at all close 
three-fourths or more is naked, presenting then a more 
slender and elegant shaft than any other tree in the 
woods. The bark is mostly arranged in massive 
plates, some of them measuring four or five feet in^ 
length by eighteen inches in width, with a thickness 
of three or four inches, forming a quite marked and 
distinguishing feature. The needles are of a fine, 
warm, yellow-green color, six to eight inches long, 
firm and elastic, and crowded in handsome, radiant 



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THE YELLOW PINE 103 

tassels on the upturning ends of the branches. The 
cones are about three or four inches long, and two 
and a half wide, growing in close, sessile clusters 
among the leaves. 

The species attains its noblest form in filled-up 
lake basins, especially in those of the older yosemites, 
and as we have seen, so prominent a part does it form 
of their groves that it may well be called the Yosemite 
Pine. 

The Jeffrey variety attains its finest development 
in the northern portion of the Range, in the wide 
basins of the McCloud and Pitt Rivers, where it 
forms magnificent forests scarcely invaded by any 
other tree. It differs from the ordinary form in 
size, being only about half as tall, in its redder and 
more closely-furrowed bark, grayish-green foliage, 
less divided branches, and much larger cones ; but in- 
termediate forms come in which make a clear separa- 
tion impossible, although some botanists regard it as a 
distinct species. It is this variety of ponderosa that 
climbs storm-swept ridges above, and wanders out 
among the volcanoes of the Great Basin. Whethei: 
exposed to extremes of heat or cold, it is dwarfed 
like many other trees, and becomes all knots and 
angles, wholly unlike the majestic forms we have 
been sketching. Old specimens, bearing cones about 
as big as pineapples, may sometimes be found clinging 



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104 THE YOSEMITE 

to rifted rocks at an elevation of 7000 or 8000 feet, 
whose highest branches scarce reach above one's 
shoulders. 

I have oftai feasted on the beauty of tiiese 
noble trees when they were towering in all their 
winter grandeur, laden with snow— » one mass of 
bloom; in summer, too, when the brown, staminate 
clusters hang thick among the shimmering needles, 
and the big purple burrs are ripening in the mellow 
light; but it is during cloudless wind-storms that 
these colossal pines are most impressively beautifuL 
Then they bow like willows, their leaves streaming 
forward all in one direction, and, when the sun shines 
upon them at the required angle, entire groves glow 
as if every leaf were burnished silver. The fall of 
tropic light on the crown of a palm is a truly glori- 
ous spectacle, the fervid sun-flood breaking upon the 
glossy leaves in long lance-rays, at the i&ot of an en- 
thusiastic cataract, like mountain water among 
boulders. But to me there is something more im- 
pressive in the fall of light upon these noble, silver 
pine pillars : it is beaten to the finest dust and shed 
off in myriads of minute sparkles that seem to radiate 
from the very heart of the tree, as if like rain, fall- 
ing upon fertile soil, it had been absorbed to reap- 
pear in flowers of light. This species also gives forth 
the finest wind music. After listening to it in all 
kinds of winds, night and day, season after season. 



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THE DOUGLAS SPRUCE 106 

I think I could approximate to my position on the 
mountain by this pine music alone. If you would 
catch the tone of separate needles climb a tree in 
breezy weather. Every needle is carefully tempered 
and gives forth no uncertain sound^ each standing out 
with no interference excepting during heavy gales; 
then you may detect the dick of one needle from an- 
other^ readily distinguishable from the free wind-like 
hum. 

When a sugar pine and one of this species equal 
in size are observed together, the latter is seen to be 
more simple in manners, more lively and graceful, and 
its beauty is of a kind more easily appreciated ; on the 
other hand it is less dignified and original in de- 
meanor. The yellow pine seems ever eager to 
shoot aloft, higher and higher. Even while it is 
drowsing in autumn sun-gold you may still detect a 
skyward aspiration, but the sugar pine seems too 
unconsciously noble and too complete in every way 
to leave room for even a heavenward care. 



THE DOUGLAS SPRUCaa 

The Douglas Spruce (Pseudotsuga Douglasii) is 
one of the largest and longest-lived of the giants that 
flourish throughout the main pine belt, often attain- 
ing a height of nearly 200 feet, and a diameter 



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106 THE YOSEMITE 

of six or seven feet Where the growth is not too 
dose^ the stout^ spreading branches^ covering more 
than half of the trunk, are hung with innumerable 
slender, drooping sprays, handsomely feathered with 
the short leaves which radiate at right angles all 
around them. This vigorous tree is ever beautiful, 
welcoming the mountain winds and the snow as well 
as the mellow summer light; and it maintains its 
youthful freshness undiminished from century to 
century through a thousand storms. It makes its 
finest appearance during the months of June and July, 
when the brown buds at the ends of the sprays swell 
and open, revealing the young leaves, which at first 
are bright yellow, making the tree appear as if 
covered with gay blossoms; while the pendulous 
bracted cones, three or four inches long, with their 
shell-like scales, are a constant adornment 

The young trees usually are assembled in family 
groups, each sapling exquisitely symmetricaL The 
primary branches are whorled regularly around the 
axis, generally in fives, while each is draped with 
long, feathery sprays that descend in lines as free 
and as finely drawn as those of falling water. 

In Oregon and Washington it forms immense 
forests, growing tall and mast-like to a height of 
300 feet, and is greatly prized as a lumber tree. 
Here it is scattered among other trees, or forms 
small groves, seldom ascending higher than 6500 feet, 



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THE IN"CENSE CEDAR 107 

and never making what would be called a forest. It 
is not particular in its choice of soil: wet or dry, 
smooth or rocky, it makes out to live well on ihem alL 
Two of the largest specimens, as we have seen, are in 
Yosemite; one of these, more than eight feet in 
diameter, is growing on a moraine; the other, nearly 
as large, on angular blocks of granite. "No other tree 
in the Sierra seems so much at home on earthquake 
taluses and many of these huge boulder-slopes are 
almost exclusively occupied by it. 



THE INCENSE CEDAB 

Incense Cedar, {lAhocedrus decurren8)y already no- 
ticed among the Yosemite trees, is quite generally dis- 
tributed throughout the pine belt without exclusively 
occupying any considerable area, or even making ex- 
tensive groves. On the warmer mountain slopes it 
ascends to about 6000 feet, and reaches the climate 
most congenial to it at a height of about 4000 feet, 
growing vigorously at this elevation in all kinds of 
soil and, in particular, it is capable of enduring more 
moisture about its roots than any of its companions 
excepting only the sequoia. 

Casting your eye over the general forest from 
some ridge-top you can identify it by the color alone 
of its spiry summits, a warm yellow-green. In 



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108 THE YOSEMITE 

its jonik up to the age of seventy or eighty years, 
none of its companions forms so strictly tapered a 
cone from top to bottom. As it becomes older it 
oftentimes grows strikingly irregular and picturesque. 
Large branches push out at right angles to the trunk, 
forming stubborn elbows and shoot up parallel with 
the axis. Very old trees are usually dead at the top. 
The flat fragrant plumes are exceedingly beautiful: 
no waving fern-frond is finer in form and texture. In 
its prime the whole tree is thatched with them, but 
if you would see the libocedrus in all its gloiy you 
must go to the woods in midwinter when it is laden 
with myriads of yellow flowers about the size of wheat 
grains, forming a noble illustration of ilTature's im- 
mortal virility and vigor. The mature cones, about 
three-fourths of an inch long, bom on the ends of the 
plumy branchlets, serve to enrich still more the sur- 
passing beauty of this winter-blooming tree-golden- 
rod. 

THE SILVEB FIBS 

We come now to the most regularly planted and 
most clearly defined of the main forest belts, com- 
posed almost exclusively of two Silver Firs — Ahies 
concolor and Abies magnifica — extending with but 
little interruption 450 miles at an elevation of from 



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Sentinel Rock, from the Glacier Point Trail 



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. -l:c library 



ASTOR. LEMOX AND 
TluOCN FOUNDATIONS. 



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THE SILVER rmS 109 

5000 to 9000 feet above the sea. In its youth the 
Silver Fir is a charmingly symmetrical tree with 
its flat plumy branches arranged in regular whorls 
around the whitish-gray axis which terminates 
in a stout^ hopeful shoot^ pointing straight to the 
zenith^ like an admonishing finger. The leaves are 
arranged in two horizontal rows along branchlets that 
commonly are less than eight years old^ forming hand- 
some plumes^ pinnated like the fronds of ferns. The 
cones are a grayish-green when ripe, cylindrical, from 
three to four inches long, and one and a half to two 
inches wide^ and stand upright on the upper hori- 
zontal branches. Full-grown trees in favorable situa- 
tions are usually about 200 feet high and five or 
six feet in diameter. As old age creeps on, the 
rough bark becomes rougher and grayer, the branches 
loose their exact regularity of form. Many that 
are snow-bent are broken off and the axis often be- 
comes double or otherwise irregular from accidents 
to the terminal bud or shoot. iN'evertheless, through- 
out all the vicissitudes of its three or four centuries of 
lif e^ come what may, the noble grandeur of these spe- 
cies, however obscured, is never lost. 

The magnificent Silver Fir, or California Red Fir 
(Abies magnifica) is the most symmetrical of all the 
Sierra giants, far surpassing its companion species in 
this respect and easily distinguished from it by the 
purplish-red bark, which is also more dosely furrowed 



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110 THE TOSEMITE 

than that of the white^ and by its lai^ger conee^ its 
more regularly whorled and f ronded branches, and its 
shorter leaves, which grow all around the branches 
and point upward instead of being arranged in two 
horizontal rows. The branches are mostly whorled 
in fives, and stand out from the straight, red-purple 
bole in level, or in old trees in drooping, collars, every 
branch regularly pinnated like fern-fronds, making 
broad plumes, singularly rich and sumptuous-looking. 
The flowers are in their prime about the middle of 
June ; the male red, growing on the underside of the 
branches in crowded profusion, giving a very rich 
color to all the trees; the female greenish-yellow, 
tinged with pink, standing erect on the upper side of 
the tojmiost branches, while the tufts of young leaves, 
about as brightly colored as those of the Douglas 
spruce, make another grand show, with cones mature 
in a single season from the flowers. When mature 
they are about six to eight inches long, three or four 
in diameter, covered with a fine gray down and 
streaked and beaded with transparent balsam, very 
rich and precious-looking, and stand erect like casts 
on the topmost branches. The inside of the cone is, 
if possible, still more beautifuL The scales and 
bracts are tinged with red and the seedlings are 
purple with bright iridescence. Both of the silver 
firs live between two and three centuries when the 
conditions about them are at all favorable. Some 



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THE SILVER FIRS 111 

venerable patriarch may be seen heavily stonn- 
marked, towering in severe majesty above the rising 
generation, with a protecting grove of hopeful sap- 
lings pressing close around his feet, each dressed with 
such loving care that not a leaf seems wanting. 
Other groups are made up of trees near the prime of 
life, nicely arranged as if Nature had carved them 
with discrimination from aU the rest of the woods. 
It is from this tree, called Red Fir by the lumber- 
men, that mountaineers cut boughs to sleep on when 
they are so fortunate as to be within its limit. Two 
or three rows of the sumptuous plushy-fronded 
branches, overlapping along the middle, and a crescent 
of smaller plumes mixed to one's taste with ferns and 
flowers for a pillow, form the very best bed imagin- 
able. The essence of the pressed leaves seems to fill 
eveiy pore of one's body. Falling water makes a 
soothing hush^ while the spaces between the grand 
spires afford noble openings through which to gaze 
dreamily into the starry sky. The fir woods are fine 
sauntering-grounds at almost any time of the year, 
but finest in autumn when the noble trees are hushed 
in the hazy light and drip with balsam ; and the fly- 
ing, whirling seeds, escaping from the ripe cones, 
mottle the air like flocks of butterflies. Even in the 
richest part of these unrivaled forests where so many 
noble trees challenge admiration we linger fondly 
among the colossal firs and extol their beauty again 



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lia THE TOSEMITE 

and again, as if no other tree in the world could hence- 
forth claim our love. It is in these woods the great 
granite domes arise that are so striking and character- 
istic a feature of the Sierra. Here, too, we find the 
best of the garden-meadows full of lilies. A diy spot 
a little way back from the margin of a silver fir 
lily-garden makes a glorious camp-ground, especially 
where the slope is toward the east with a view of the 
distant peaks along the summit of the Bange. The 
tall lilies are brought forward most impressively like 
visitors by the light of your camp-fire and the nearest 
of the trees with their whorled branches tower above 
you like larger lilies and the sky seen through the 
garden-opening seems one vast meadow of white lily 
stars. 

THE TWO-LEAVED PINE 

The Two-Leaved Pine (Firms contorta, var. Mur- 
ray ana), above the Silver Fir zone, forms the bulk 
of the alpine forests up to a height of from 8000 to 
9600 feet above the sea, growing in beautiful order on 
moraines scarcely changed as yet by post-glacial 
weathering. Compared with the giants of the lower 
regions this is a small tree, seldom exceeding a height 
of eighty or ninety feet. The largest I ever measured 
was ninety feet high and a little over six feet in 
diameter. The average height of mature trees 



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THE TWO-LEAVED PINE 118 

throughout the entire belt is probably not far 
from fifty or sixty feet with a diameter of 
two feet. It is a well-proportioned, rather hand- 
some tree with grayish-brown bark and crooked, 
much-divided branches which cover the greater part 
of the trunk, but not so densely as to prevent it be* 
ing seen. The lower limbs, like those of most other 
conifers that grow in snowy regions, curve downward, 
gradually take a horizontal position about half-way 
up the trunk, then aspire more and more toward the 
simmiit. The short, rigid needles in f ascides of two 
are arranged in comparatively long cylindrical tasr 
sels at the ends of the tough up-curving branches. 
The cones are about two inches long, growing in 
dusters among the needles without any striking ef- 
fect except while veiy young, when the flowers are of a 
vivid crimson color and the whole tree appears to be 
dotted with brilliant flowers. The staminate flowers 
are still more showy on account of their great abun- 
dance, often giving a reddish-yellow tinge to the whole 
mass of foliage and filling the air with pollen. No 
other pine on the Bange is so regularly planted as this 
one, covering moraines that extend along the sides of 
the high rocky valleys for miles without interruption. 
The thin bark is streaked and sprinkled with resin as 
though it had been showered upon the forest like 
rain. 

Therefore this tree more than any other is sub- 

8 



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114 THE TOSEMITE 

ject to deetruction by fire. During strong winds 
extensive forests are destroyed, the flames leaping 
from tree to tree in continuous belts that go surging 
and racing onward above the bending wood like 
prairie-grass fires. During the calm season and In- 
dian summer the fire creeps quietly along the ground, 
feeding on the needles and cones ; arriving at the foot 
of a tree, the resin bark is ignited and the heated 
air ascends in a swift current, increasing in velocity 
and dragging the flames upward. Then the leaves 
catch, forming an immense column of flre, beautifully 
spired on the edges and tinted a rose-purple hue. It 
rushes aloft thirty or forty feet above the top of the 
tree, forming a grand spectacle, especially at night. 
It lasts, however, only a few seconds, vanishing with 
magical rapidity, to be succeeded by others along 
the fire-line at irregular intervals, tree after tree, up- 
fiashing and darting, leaving the trunks and brandies 
scarcely scarred. The heat, however, is sufficient to 
kill the tree and in a few years the bark shrivels and 
falls off. Forests miles in extent are thus killed and 
left standing, with the branches on, but peeled and 
rigid, appearing gray in the distance like misty 
clouds. Later the branches drop off, leaving a forest 
of bleached spires. At length the roots decay and the 
forlorn gray trunks are blown down during some 
storm and piled one upon another, encumbering the 
ground until, dry and seasoned, they are consumed by 



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THE MOUNTAIN PINE 116 

another fire and leave the ground ready for a fresh 
crop. 

In sheltered lake-hollows^ on beds of alluvium, this 
pine varies so far from the common form that fre- 
quently it could be taken for a distinct species, grow- 
ing in damp sods like grasses from forty to eighty 
feet high, bending all together to the breeze and whir- 
ling in eddying gusts more lively than any other tree 
in the woods. I frequently found species fifty feet 
high less than five inches in diameter. Being so 
slender and at the same time clad with leafy boughs, 
it is often bent and weighed down to the ground 
when laden with soft snow ; thus forming fine orna- 
mental arches, many of them to last imtil the melting 
of the snow in the spring. 



THE MOUNTAIN PINE 



The Mountain Pine (Pinus monticola) is the 
noblest tree of the alpine zone — hardy and long- 
lived, towering grandly above its companions and be- 
coming stronger and more imposing just where other 
species begin to crouch and disappear. At its best 
it is usually about ninety feet high and five or six 
feet in diameter, though you may find specimens here 
and there considerably larger than this. It is as mas- 



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116 THE YOSEMITE 

sive and as suggestive of enduring strength as an oak. 
About two-thirds of the trunk is commonly free of 
limbs^ but close, f ringy tufts of spray occur nearly all 
the way down to the ground. On trees that occupy 
exposed situations near its upper limit the bark is 
deep reddish-brown and rather deeply furrowed, the 
main furrows rrmning nearly parallel to each other 
and connected on the old trees by conspicuous cross- 
furrows. The cones are from four to eight inches 
long, smooth, slender, cylindrical and somewhat 
curved. They grow in clusters of from three to six 
or seven and become pendulous as they increase in 
weight. This species is nearly related to the sugar 
pine and, though not half so tall, it suggests its noble 
relative in the way that it extends its long branches in 
general habit. It is ^t met on the upper margin of 
the silver fir zone, singly, in what appears as 
chance situations without making much impression 
on the general forest. Continuing up through the 
forests of the two-leaved pine it begins to show its 
distinguishing characteristic in the most marked way 
at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, extending its 
tough, rather slender arms across the air, welcoming 
the storms and feeding on them and reaching some- 
times to the grand old age of 1000 years. 



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'-Pile 






-"-S.Z. 



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North Dome — Royal Arches — Washington 
Column — Merced River 



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THE WESTERN JUNIPER 117 



THE WESTERN JUNIPER 

The Juniper or Red Oedar (Jtmiperus occidenr 
talis) is preeminently a rock tree, occupying the bald- 
est domes and pavements in the upper silver fir 
and alpine zones, at a height of from 7000 to 9500 
feet In such situations^ rooted in narrow cracks or 
fissures, where there is scarcely a handful of soil, 
it is frequently over eight feet in diameter and not 
much more in height The tops of old trees are al- 
most always dead, and large stubborn-looking limbs 
push out horizontally, most of them broken and dead 
at the end, but densely covered, and imbedded here 
and there with tufts or mounds of gray-green scale- 
like foliage. Some trees are mere storm-beaten 
stumps about as broad as long, decorated with a few 
leafy sprays, reminding one of the crumbling towers 
of old castles scantily draped with ivy. Its homes 
on bare, barren dome and ridgfe-top seem to have 
been chosen for safety against fire, for, on iso- 
lated mounds of sand and gravel free from grass and 
bushes on which fire could feed, it is often found 
growing tall and unscathed to a height of forty to 
sixty feet, with scarce a trace of the rocky angularity 
and broken limbs so characteristic a feature through- 
out the greater part of its range. It never makes 
anything like a forest ; seldom even a grove. Usually 



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118 THE TOSEMITE 

it stands out separate and independent, clinging 
by slight joints to the rocks, living chiefly on snow 
and thin air and maintaining sound health on this 
diet for 2000 years or more. Every feature or 
every gesture it makes expresses steadfast, dogged en- 
durance. The bark is of a bright cinnamon color and 
is handsomely braided and reticulated on thrifty 
trees, flaking off in thin, shining ribbons that are 
sometimes used by the Indians for tent matting. Its 
fine color and picturesqueness are appreciated by 
artists, but to me the juniper seems a singularly 
strange and taciturn tree. I have spent many a day 
and night in its company and always have found it 
silent and rigid. It seems to be a survivor of some 
ancient race, wholly unacquainted with its neighbors. 
Its broad stumpiness, of course, makes wind-waving 
or even shaking out of the question, but it is not this 
rocky rigidity that constitutes its silence. In calm, 
sun-days the sugar pine preaches like an enthusiastic 
apostle without moving a leaf. On level rocks the 
juniper dies standing and wastes insensibly out of 
existence like granite, the wind exerting about as little 
control over it, alive or dead, as it does over a glacier 
boulder. 

I have spent a good deal of time trying to de- 
termine the age of these wonderful trees, but as all of 
the very old ones are honeycombed with dry rot I 
never was able to get a complete count of the largest 



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THE JUNIPER 11» 

Some are undoubtedly more than 2000 years old, for 
though on deep moraine soil they grow about as fast 
as some of the pines, on bare pavements and smoothly 
glaciated, overswept ridges in the dome region they 
grow very slowly. One on the Starr Bang Ridge only 
two feet eleven inches in diameter was 1140 years old 
forty years ago. Another on the same ridge, only 
one foot seven and a half inches in diameter, had 
reached the age of 834 years. The first fifteen inches 
from the bark of the mediumnsize tree six feet in 
diameter, on the north Tenaya pavement, had 859 
layers of wood. Beyond this the count was stopped 
by dry rot and scars. The largest I examined 
was thirty-three feet in girth, or nearly ten feet in 
diameter and, although I have failed to get anything 
like a complete count, I learned enough from this and 
many other specimens to convince me that most of 
the trees eight or ten feet thick, standing on pave- 
ments, are more than twenty centuries old rather than 
less. Barring accidents, for all I can see they would 
live forever; even when overthrown by avalanches, 
they refuse to lie at rest, lean stubbornly on their big 
branches as if anxious to rise, and while a single root 
holds to the rock, put forth fresh leaves with a grim, 
never-eay-die expression. 



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120 THE YOSEMITE 



THE MOUNTAIN HEMLOCK 

As the juniper is the most stubborn and nnsbake- 
able of trees in the Yosemite r^on, the Mountain 
Hemlock (Tsuga Mertensiana) is the most graceful 
and pliant and sensitive. Until it reaches a height 
of fifty or sixty feet it is sumptuously clothed down 
to the ground with drooping branches^ which are di- 
vided again and again into delicate waving sprays, 
grouped and arranged in ways that are indescribably 
beautiful, and profusely adorned with small brown 
cones. The flowers also are peculiarly beautiful and 
effective; the female dark rich purple, the male blue, 
of so fine and pure a tone that the best azure of the 
mountain sky seems to be condensed in them. 
Though apparently the most delicate and feminine of 
all the mountain trees, it grows beet where the snow 
lies deepest, at a height of from 9000 to 9500 feet, in 
hollows on the northern slopes of mountains and 
ridges. But under all circumstances, sheltered from 
heavy winds or in bleak exposure to them, well fed 
or starved, even at its highest limit, 10,500 feet above 
the sea, on exposed ridge-tops where it has to crouch 
and huddle close in low thickets, it still contrives 
to put forth its sprays and branches in forms of 
invincible beauty, while on moist, well-drained 
moraines it displays a perfectly tropical luxuriance 



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THE MOUNTAIN HEMLOCK 121 

of foliage^ flowers and fruit The snow of the first 
winter storm is frequently soft, and lodges in the 
dense leafy branches, weighing them down against 
the trunk, and the slender, drooping axis, bending 
lower and lower as the load increases, at length 
reaches the ground, forming an ornamental arch. 
Then, as storm succeeds storm and snow is heaped on 
snow, the whole tree is at last buried, not again to 
see the light of day or move leaf or limb until set 
free by the spring thaws in June or July. Not only 
the young saplings are thus carefully covered and 
put to sleep in the whitest of white beds for five or 
six months of the year, but trees thirty feet high or 
more. From April to May, when the snow by r^ 
peated thawing and freezing is firmly compacted, 
you may ride over the prostrate groves without seeing 
a single branch or leaf of them. No other of our al- 
pine conifers so finely veils its strength; poised in 
thin, white sunshine, dad with branches from head 
to foot^ it towers in unassuming majesty, drooping as 
if unaffected with the aspiring tendencies of its race, 
loving the ground, conscious of heaven and joyously 
receptive of its blessings, reaching out its branciies 
like sensitive tentacles, feeling the light and reveling 
in it. The largest specimen I ever found was nine- 
teen feet seven inches in circumference. It was 
growing on the edge of Lake Hollow, north of Mount 
Hoffman, at an elevation of 9250 feet above the 



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122 THE YOSEMITE 

level of the sea, and was probably about a hundred 
feet in height. Fine groves of mature trees, ninety 
to a hundred feet in height, are growing near the 
base of Mount Conness. It is widely distributed 
from near the south extremity of the high Sierra 
northward along the Cascade Motmtains of Oregon 
and Washington and the coast ranges of British Co- 
lumbia to Alaska, where it was first discovered in 
1827. Its northernmost limit, so far as I have ob- 
served, is in the icy fiords of Prince William Sound 
in latitude 61*^, where it forms pure forests at the 
level of the sea, growing tall and majestic on the 
banks of glaciers. There, as in the iTosemite regicm, 
it is ineffably beautiful, the very loveliest of all the 
American conifers. 



THE WJtilTE-BABK PINE 

The Dwarf Pine, or White-Bark Pine (Pinus 
albicaulis)^ forms the extreme edge of the timber- 
line throughout nearly the whole extent of the Range 
on*both flanks. It is first met growing with the two- 
leaved pine on the upper margin of the alpine belt, 
as an erect tree from fifteen to thirty feet high and 
from one to two feet in diameter; thence it goes 
straggling up the flanks of the summit peaks, upon 
moraines or crumbling ledges, wherever it can get a 



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THE WHITE-BARK PINE 128 

foothold, to an elevation of from 10,000 to 12,000 
feet, where it dwarfs to a mass of crumpled branches, 
covered with slender shoots^ each tipped with a short, 
close-packed, leaf tasseL The bark is smooth and 
purplish, in some places almost white. The flowers 
are bright scarlet and rose-purple, giving a very 
flowery appearance little looked for in such a tree. 
The cones are about three inches long, an inch and a 
half in diameter, grow in rigid clusters, and are 
dark chocolate in color while young, and bear 
beautiful pearly-white seeds about the size of peas, 
most of which are eaten by chipmunks and the 
Clarke's crows. Pines are commonly regarded as 
sky-living trees that must necessarily aspire or die. 
This species forms a marked exception, crouching and 
creeping in compliance with the most rigorous de- 
mands of climate ; yet enduring bravely to a more ad- 
vanced age than many of its lofty relatives in the 
sun-lands far below it. Seen from a distance it 
would never be taken for a tree of any kind. For 
example, on Cathedral Peak there is a scattered 
growth of this pine, creeping like mosses over the 
roof, nowhere giving hint of an ascending axis. 
While, approached quite near, it still appears matty 
and healthy, and one experiences no difficulty in walk- 
ing over the top of it, yet it is seldom absolutely 
prostrate, usually attaining a height of three or four 
feet with a main trunk^ and with branches outspread 



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124 THE YOSEMITE 

above it, as if in ascending they had been checked by 
a ceiling against which they had been compelled to 
spread horizontally. The winter snow is a sort of 
ceiling, lasting half the year; while the pressed sur- 
face is made yet smoother by violent winds armed 
with cutting sand-grains that bear down any shoot 
which offers to rise much above the general level, and 
that carve the dead trunks and branches in beautiful 
patterns. 

During stormy nights I have often camped snugly 
beneath the interlacing ardies of this little pine. 
The needles, which have accumulated for centuries, 
make fine beds, a fact well known to other mountain- 
eers, such as deer and wild sheep, who paw out oval 
hollows and lie beneath the larger trees in safe and 
comfortable concealment. This lowly dwarf reaches 
a far greater age than would be guessed. A specimen 
that I examined, growing at an elevation of 10,700 
feet, yet looked as though it might be plucked up by 
the roots, for it was only three and a half inches in 
diameter and its topmost tassel reached hardly three 
feet above the ground. Cutting it half through and 
counting the annual rings with the aid of a lens, 
I found its age to be no less than 255 years. 
Another specimen about the same height, with 
a trunk six inches in diameter, I found to be 
426 years old, forty years ago; and one of its 
supple branchlets hardly an eighth of an inch in di- 



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Mirror Lake, Mt. Watkins and slopes of Cloud's Rest 



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n.^LN FOUNOATIOK'S. 



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THE NUT PINE 128 

ameter inside the bark, was seventy-five years old, 
and so filled with oily balsam and seasoned by storms 
that I tied it in knots like a whip-cord. 



THE NUT PINE 

In going across the Eange from the Tuolnmne 
Biver Soda Springs to Mono Lake one makes 
the acquaintance of the curious little Nut Pine, 
{Pirtus mcmophylla). It dots the eastern flank of 
the Sierra to which it is mostly restricted in gray- 
ish bush-like patches, from the margin of the sage- 
plains to an elevation of from 7000 to 8000 feet. A 
more contented, fruitful and unaspiring conifer 
could not be conceived. All the species we have been 
sketching make departures more or less distant from 
the typical spire form, but none goes so far as this. 
Without any apparent cause it keeps near the 
ground, throwing out crooked, divergent branches 
like an orchard apple-tree, and seldom pushes a single 
shoot higher than fifteen or twenty feet above the 
ground. 

The average thickness of the trunk is, perhaps, 
about ten or twelve inches. The leaves are mostly 
undivided, like round awls, instead of being sepa- 
rated, like those of other pines, into twos and threes 
and fives. The cones are green while growing, and 



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12e THE TOSEMITE 

are UBually found over all the tree, forming quite a 
marked feature as seen against the bluish-gray 
foliage. They are quite small, only about two inches 
in length, and seem to have but little space for seeds ; 
but when we come to open them, we find that about 
half the entire bulk of the cone is made up of sweet, 
nutritious nuts, nearly as large as hazel-nuts. This 
is undoubtedly the most important food-tree on the 
Sierra, and furnishes the Mona, Carson, and Walker 
River Indians with more and better nuts than all the 
other species taken together. It is the Indian's own 
tree, and many a white man have they killed for cutr 
ting it down. Being so low, the cones are readily 
beaten off with poles, and the nuts procured by roast- 
ing them until the scales open. In bountiful seasons 
a single Indian may gather thirty or forty bushels. 



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yn 

THE BIG TREES 

BETWEEN the heavy pine and silver fir zones 
towers the Big Tree (Sequoia gigantea), the 
king of all the conifers in the world, ^^ the noblest of 
the noble race." The groves nearest Yoaemite Val- 
ley are about twenty miles to the westward and 
southward and are called the Tuolumne, Merced and 
Mariposa groves. It extends, a widely interrupted 
belt, from a very small grove on the middle fork of 
the American Biver to the head of Deer Creek, a 
distance of about 260 miles, its northern limit 
being near the thirty-ninth parallel, the southern a 
little below the thirty-sixth. The elevation of the 
belt above the sea varies from about 5000 to 8000 
feet From the American Kiver to Kfngs Kiver 
the species occurs only in small isolated groups so 
sparsely distributed along the belt that three of 
the gaps in it are from forty to sixty miles wide. 
But from Kings Eiver southward the sequoia is 
not restricted to mere groves but extends across the 
wide rugged basins of the Kaweah and Tule Bivers 

in noble forests, a distance of nearly seventy 

127 



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128 THE TOSEMITE 

miles, the continnity of this part of the belt being 
broken only by the main canons. The Fresno, the 
largest of the northern grove, has an area of three or 
four square miles, a short distance to the southward 
of the famous Mariposa grove. Along the south rim 
of the canon of the south fork of Kings Kiver there 
is a majestic sequoia forest about six miles long 
by two wide. This is the northernmost group that 
may fairly be called a forest Descending the di- 
vide between the Kings and Kaweah Kivers you 
come to the grand forests that form the main con- 
tinuous portion of the belt Southward the giants 
become more and more irrepressibly jubilant, heaving 
their massive crowns into the sky from every ridge 
and slope, waving onward in graceful compliance 
with the complicated topography of the region. 
The finest of the Kaweah section of the belt is 
on the broad ridge between Marble Creek and the 
middle fork, and is called the Giant Forest It ex- 
tends from the granite headlands, overlooking the hot 
San Joaquin plains, to within a few miles of the cool 
glacial fountains of the summit peaks. The extreme 
upper limit of the belt is reached between the mid- 
dle and south forks of the Kaweah at a height of 
8400 feet, but the finest block of big tree forests 
in the entire belt is on the north fork of Tule River, 
and is included in the Sequoia Ifational Park. 
In the northern groves there are comparatively few 



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THE BIG TREES 129 

young trees or saplings. But here for every old 
storm-beaten giant there are many in their prime and 
for each of these a crowd of hopeful young trees and 
saplings, growing vigorously on moraines, rocky 
ledges, along water courses and meadows. But 
though the area occupied by the big tree increases 
so greatly from north to south, there is no marked in- 
crease in the size of the trees. The height of 275 
feet or thereabouts and a diameter of about twenty 
feet, four feet from the ground is, perhaps, about the 
average size of what may be called full-grown trees, 
where they are favorably located. The specimens 
twenty-five feet in diameter are not very rare and a 
few are nearly three hundred feet high. In the Cala- 
veras grove there are four trees over 800 feet in 
height, the tallest of which as measured by the Geo- 
logical Survey is 325 feet. The very largest that I 
have yet met in the course of my explorations is a 
majestic old fire-scarred monument in the Kings 
River forest. It is thirty-five feet and eight inches in 
diameter inside the bark, four feet above the ground. 
It is burned half through, and I spait a day in 
clearing away the charred surface with a sharp ax and 
counting the annual wood-rings with the aid of a 
pocket lens. I succeeded in laying bare a section all 
the way from the outside to the heart and counted a 
little over four thousand rings, showing that this tree 
was in its prime about twenty-seven feet in diameter 

9 



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180 THE YOSEMITE 

at the beginning of the Christian era. "No other 
tree in the world, as far as I know, has looked down 
on so many centuries as the sequoia or opens so 
many impressive and suggestive views into history. 
Under the most favorable conditions these giants 
probably live 5000 years or more, though few of even 
the larger trees are half as old. The age of one that 
was felled in Calaveras grove, for the sake of having 
its stump for a dancing-floor, was about 1300 years, 
and its diameter measured across the stump twenty- 
four feet inside the bark. Another that was felled in 
the Kings River forest was about the same size but 
nearly a thousand years older (2200 years), though 
not a very old-looking tree. 

So harmonious and finely balanced are even the 
mightiest of these monarchs in all their proportions 
that there is never anything overgrown or mon- 
strous about them. Seeing them for the first time 
you are more impressed with their beauty than their 
size, their grandeur being a great part invisible ; but 
sooner or later it becomes manifest to the loving eye, 
stealing slowly on the senses like the grandeur of 
Niagara or of the Tosemite Dome. When you ap- 
proach them and walk around them you begin to 
wonder at their colossal size and try to measure them. 
They bulge considerably at the base, but not more 
than is required for beauty and safety and the only 
reason that this bulging seems in some cases excessive 



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THE BIG TEEES 181 

is that only a comparatively small section is seen in 
near views. One that I measured in the Eings 
Eiver forest was twenty-five feet in diameter at the 
ground and ten feet in diameter 200 feet above the 
ground, showing the fineness of the taper of the trunk 
as a whole. 'No description can give anything like an 
adequate idea of their singular majesty, much less of 
their beauty. Except the sugar pine, most of their 
neighbors with pointed tops seem ever trying to go 
higher, while the big tree, soaring above them all, 
seems satisfied. Its grand domed head seems to be 
poised about as lightly as a cloud, giving no impres- 
sion of seeking to rise higher. Only when it is 
young does it show like other conifers a heavenward 
yearning, sharply aspiring with a long quick-growing 
top. Indeed, the whole tree for the first century or 
two, or until it is a hundred or one hundred and fifty 
feet high, is arrowhead in form, and, compared with 
the solemn rigidity of age, seems as sensitive to the 
wind as a squirrePs tail. As it grows older, the lower 
branches are gradually dropped and the upper ones 
thinned out until comparatively few are left 
These, however, are developed to a great size, divide 
again and again and terminate in bossy, rounded 
masses of leafy branchlets, while the head becomes 
dome-shaped, and is the first to feel the touch of the 
rosy beams of the morning, the last to bid the sun 
good night Perfect specimens, imhurt by running 



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132 THE YOSEMITE 

fires or lightning, are singularly regular and Bjmr 
metrical in general f orm^ though not in the least oonr 
ventionalizedy for they show extraordinary variety 
in the unity and harmony of their general outline. 
The immensely strong, stately shafts are free of 
limbs for one hundred and fifty feet or so. The 
large limbs reach out with equal boldness in every 
direction, showing no weather side, and no other 
tree has foliage so densely massed, so finely molded ' 
in outline and so perfectly subordinate to an ideal 
type. A particularly knotty, angular, ungovernable- 
looking branch, from five to seven or eight feet in 
diameter and perhaps a thousand years old, may 
occasionally be seen pushing out from the trunk as if 
determined to break across the botmds of the regular 
curve, but like all the others it dissolves in bosses of 
branchlets and sprays as soon as the general outline 
is approached. Except in picturesque old age, after 
being struck by lightning or broken by thousands of 
snow-storms, the r^ularity of forms is one of their 
most distinguishing characteristics. Another is the 
simple beauty of the trunk and its great thickness as 
compared with its height and the width of the 
branches, which makes them look more like finely 
modeled and sculptured architectural columns than 
the stems of trees, while the great limbs look like 
rafters, supporting the magnificent dome-head. But 
though so consummately beautiful, the big tree al- 



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Half Dome — Cloud's Rest beyond 



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IPUBLIC-LIBRARV] 

ASTOR. LENOX *N0 
TiLOEN FOUNDATIONS^ 



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THE BIG TEEES 133 

ways seems unfamiliar, with peculiar physiognomy, 
awfully solemn and earnest ; yet with all its strange- 
ness it impresses us as being more at home than any 
of its neighbors, holding the best right to the ground 
as the oldest, strongest inhabitant. One soon be- 
comes acquainted with new species of pine and fir and 
spruce as with friendly people, shaking their out- 
stretched branches like shaking hands and fondling 
their little ones, while the venerable aboriginal 
sequoia, ancient of other days, keeps you at a dis- 
tance, looking as strange in aspect and behavior 
among its neighbor trees as would the mastodon 
among the homely bears and deers. Only the Sierra 
jimiper is at all like it, standing rigid and unconquer- 
able on glacier pavements for thousands of years, 
grim and silent, with an air of antiquity about as pro- 
nounced as that of the sequoia. 

The bark of the lai^gest tree is from one to two 
feet thick, rich cinnamon brown, purplish on yoimg 
trees, forming magnificent masses of color with the 
underbrush. Toward the end of winter the trees 
are in bloom, while the snow is still eight or ten feet 
deep. The female flowers are about three-eighths of 
an inch long, pale green, and grow in countless thou- 
sands on the ends of sprays. The male are still more 
abundant, pale yellow, a fourth of an inch long and 
when the pollen is ripe they color the whole tree and 
dust the air and the ground. The cones are bright 



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184 THE YOSEMITE 

grass-green in oolor^ about two and a half Inches long^ 
one and a half wide, made np of thirty or forty 
strong, closely-packed, rhomboidal scales, with four to 
eight seeds at the base of each. The seeds are won- 
derfully small and light, being only from an eighth 
to a fourth of an inch long and wide, including a 
filmy surrounding wing, which causes them to glint 
and waver in falling and enables the wind to carry 
them considerable distances. Unless harvested by 
the squirrels, the cones dischaige their seed and re- 
main on the tree for many years. In fruitful seasons 
the trees are fairly laden. On two small brandies 
one and a half and two inches in diameter I counted 
480 cones. No other California conifer produces 
nearly so many seeds, except, perhaps, the other 
sequoia, the Bedwood of the Coast Mountains. Mil- 
lions are ripened annually by a single tree, and in a 
fruitful year the product of one of the northern 
groves would be enough to plant all the mountain 
ranges in the world. 

As soon as any accident happens to the crown, such 
as being smashed off by lightning, the branches be- 
neath the wound; no matter how situated, seem to be 
excited, like a colony of bees that have lost their 
queen, and become anxious to repair the damage, 
limbs that have grown outward for centuries at right 
angles to the trunk begin to turn upward to assist in 
making a new crown, each speedily assuming the spe- 



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THE BIG TEEES 136 

cial form of true suminits. Even in the case of 
mere stumps, burned half through, some mere orna- 
mental tuft will try to go aloft and do its best as a 
leader in forming a new head. Groups of two or 
three are often found standing close together, the 
seeds from which they sprang having probably grown 
on ground cleared for their reception by the fall of a 
large tree of a former generation. They are called 
" loving couples," " three graces," etc. When these 
trees are young they are seen to stand twenty or 
thirty feet apart, by the time they are full-grown 
their trunks will touch and crowd against each other 

_ and in some cases even appear as one. 

\ It is generally believed that the sequoia was once 

far more widely distributed over the Sierra; but 
after long and careful study I have come to the con- 
clusion that it never was, at least since the close of 
the glacial period, because a diligent search along the 
margins of the groves, and in the gaps between fails 
to reveal a single trace of its previous existence be- 
yond its present bounds. Notwithstanding, I feel 
confident that if every sequoia in the Eange were to 
die to-day, numerous monuments of their existence 
would remain, of so imperishable a nature as to be 
available for the student more than ten thousand 
years hence. 

In the first place, no species of coniferous tree 
in the Bange keeps its members so well together as 



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186 THE YOSEMITE 

the sequoia ; a mile is^ perhaps, the greatest distance 
of any straggler from the main body, and all of 
those stragglers that have come nnder my observation 
are young, instead of old monumental trees, relics of 
a more extended growth. 

Again, the great trunks of the sequoia last for 
centuries after they fall. I have a specimen block 
of sequoia wood, cut from a fallen tree, which is 
hardly distinguishable from a similar section cut 
from a living tree, although the one cut fronj the fal- 
len trunk has certainly lain on the damp forest floor 
more than 380 years, probably thrice as long. The 
time-measure in the case is simply this: When the 
ponderous trunk to which the old vestige belonged 
fell, it sunk itself into the ground, thus making a 
long, straight ditch, and in the middle of this ditch 
a silver fir four feet in diameter and 380 years old 
was growing, as I determined by cutting it half 
through and counting the rings, thus demonstrating 
that the remnant of the trunk that made the ditch 
has lain on the ground more than 380 years. For it 
is evident that, to find the whole time, we must add 
to the 380 years the time that the vanished portion 
of the trunk lay in the ditch before being burned out 
of the way, plus the time that passed before the seed 
from which the monumental fir sprang fell into the 
prepared soil and took root. Now, because sequoia 
tnmks are never wholly consumed in one forest fire, 



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THE BIG TEEES 137 

and those fires recur only at considerable intervals, 
and because sequoia ditches after being cleared are 
often left unplanted for centuries, it becomes evident 
that the trunk-remnant in question may probably 
have lain a thousand years or more. And this in- 
stance is by no means a rare one. 

Again, admitting that upon those areas supposed 
to have been once covered with sequoia forests, every 
tree may have fallen, and every trunk may have been 
burned or buried, leaving not a remnant, many of 
the ditches made by the fall of the ponderous trunks, 
and the bowls made by their upturning roots, would 
remain patent for thousands of years after the last 
vestige of the trunks that made them had vanished. 
Much of this ditch-writing would no doubt be quickly 
effaced by the flood-action of overflowing streams and 
rain-washing; but no inconsiderable portion would 
remain enduringly engraved on ridge-tops beyond 
such destructive action ; for, where all the conditions 
are favorable, it is almost imperishable. Now these 
historic ditches and root-bowls occur in all the pres- 
ent sequoia groves and forests, but, as far as I have 
observed, not the faintest vestige of one presents itself 
outside of them. 

We therefore conclude that the area covered by 
sequoia has not been diminished during the last 
eight or ten thousand years, and probably not at all 
in post-glacial time. Nevertheless, the questions may 



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138 THE YOSEMITE 

be asked : Is the species verging toward extinction ! 
What are its relations to climate^ soil, and associated 
trees? 

All the phenomena bearing on these questions also 
throw light, as we shall endeavor to show, upon the 
peculiar distribution of the species, and sustain the 
conclusion already arrived at as to the question of 
former extension. In the northern groups, as we 
have seen, there are few young trees or saplings 
growing up around the old ones to perpetuate the 
race, and inasmuch as those aged sequoias, so nearly 
childless, are the only ones commonly known, the 
species, to most observers, seems doomed to speedy 
extinction, as being nothing more than an expiring 
remnant, vanquished in the so-called struggle for life 
by pines and firs that have driven it into its last 
strongholds in moist glens where the climate is sup- 
posed to be exceptionally favorable. But the story 
told by the majestic continuous forests of the south 
creates a very different impression. No tree in the 
forest is more enduringly established in concordance 
with both climate and soil. It grows heartily every- 
where — on moraines, rocky ledges, along water- 
courses, and in the deep, moist alluvium of meadows 
with, as we have seen, a multitude of seedlings and 
saplings crowding up around the aged, abundantly 
able to maintain the forest in prime vigor. So that 
if all the trees of any section of the main sequoia 



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THE BIG TEEES 139 

forest were ranged together according to age, a very 
promising cnrve would be presented, all the way np 
from last year's seedlings to giants, and with the 
young and middle-aged portion of the curve many 
times longer than the old portion. Even as far north 
as the Fresno, I counted 536 saplings and seedlings, 
growing promisingly upon a landslip not exceeding 
two acres in area. This soil-bed was about seven 
years old, and had been seeded almost simultaneously 
by pines, firs, libocedrus, and sequoia, presenting 
a simple and instructive illustration of the struggle 
for life among the rival species ; and it was interest- 
ing to note that the conditions thus far affecting them 
have enabled the young sequoias to gain a marked 
advantage. Toward the south where the sequoia 
becomes most exuberant and numerous, the rival trees 
become less so; and where they mix with sequoias 
they grow up beneath them like slender grasses among 
stalks of Indian com. Upon a bed of sandy flood- 
soil I counted ninety-four sequoias, from one to 
twelve feet high, on a patch of ground once occupied 
by four large sugar pines which lay crumbling be- 
neath them — an instance of conditions which have 
enabled sequoias to crowd out the pines. I also 
noted eighty-six vigorous saplings upon a piece of 
fresh ground prepared for their reception by fire. 
Thus fire, the great destroyer of the sequoia, also fur- 
nishes the bare ground required for its growth from 



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140 THE YOSEMITE 

the seed. Fresh ground is^ however, furnished in 
sufficient quantities for the renewal of the forests 
without the aid of fire — by the fall of old trees. 
The soil is thus upturned and mellowed, and many 
trees are planted for every one that falls. 

It is constantly asserted in a vague way that the 
Sierra was vastly wetter than now, and that the in- 
creasing drought will of itself extinguish the sequoia, 
leaving its ground to other trees supposed capable of 
flourishing in a drier climate. But that the sequoia 
can and does grow on as dry ground as any of its 
present rivals is manifest in a thousand places. 
" Why, then," it will be asked, " are sequoias always 
found only in well-watered places?" Simply be- 
cause a growth of sequoias creates those streams. 
The thirsty mountaineer knows well that in every 
sequoia grove he will find running water, but it is 
a mistake to suppose that the water is the cause of the 
grove being there; on the contrary, the grove is the 
cause of the water being there. Drain off the water 
and the trees will remain, but cut off the trees, and 
the streams will vanish. Never was cause more com- 
pletely mistaken for effect than in the case of these 
related phenomena of sequoia woods and perennial 
streams. 

When attention is called to the method of sequoia 
stream-making, it will be apprehended at once. The 
roots of this immense tree fill the ground, forming a 



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I lib; NHVV YO.NK 

^•DL!C LIBRARY 



ASTO«, LENOX AN© 
TIlDEN FOUNOAHONS. 



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The Three Brothers — the left-hand one, Eagle Peak, is the highest 



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THE BIG TREES 141 

thick sponge that absorbs and holds back the rain 
and melting snow^ only allowing it to ooze and flow 
gently. Indeed, every fallen leaf and rootlet, as 
well as long clasping root, and prostrate trunk, may 
be regarded as a dam hoarding the bounty of storm- 
clouds, and dispensing it as blessings all through the 
summer, instead of allowing it to go headlong in 
short-lived floods. 

Since, then, it is a fact that thousands of sequoias 
are growing thriftily on what is termed dry ground, 
and even clinging like mountain pines to rifts in 
granite precipices, and since it has also been shown 
that the extra moisture found in connection with the 
denser growths is an effect of their presence, instead 
of a cause of their presence, then the notions as to the 
former extension of the species and its near approach 
to extinction, based upon its supposed dependence on 
greater moisture, are seen to be erroneous. 

The decrease in the rain and snowfall since the 
close of the glacial period in the Sierra is much less 
than is commonly guessed. The highest post-glacial 
water-marks are well preserved in all the upper river 
channels, and they are not greatly higher than the 
spring flood-marks of the present; showing conclu- 
sively that no extraordinary decrease has taken place 
in the voliune of the upper tributaries of post-glacial 
Sierra streams since they came into existence. But, 
in the meantime, eliminating all this complicated 



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142 THE YOSEMITE 

queetion of climatic change, the plain fact remains 
that the present rain and snowfall is abundantly suf- 
ficient for the luxuriant growth of sequoia forests. 
Indeed, all my observations tend to show that in a 
prolonged drought the sugar pines and firs would 
perish before the sequoia^ not alone because of the 
greater longevity of individual trees, but because 
the species can endure more drought, and make the 
most of whatever moisture falls. 

Again, if the restriction and irregular distribution 
of the species be interpreted as a result of the desic- 
cation of the Eange, then instead of increasing as it 
does in individuals toward the south where the rain- 
fall is less, it should diminish. If, then, the peculiar 
distribution of sequoia has not been governed by su- 
perior conditions of soil as to fertility or moisture, by 
what has it been governed ? 

In the course of my studies I observed that the 
northern groves, the only ones I was at first ac- 
quainted with, were located on just those portions of 
the general forest soil-belt that were first laid bare 
toward the close of the glacial period when the ice- 
sheet began to break up into individual glaciers. 
And while searching the wide basin of the San 
Joaquin, and trying to account for the absence of 
sequoia where every condition seemed favorable for 
its growth, it occurred to me that this remarkable 
gap in the sequoia belt fifty miles wide is located ex- 



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THE BIG TEEES 148 

actly in the basin of the vast, ancient mer de glace of 
the San Joaquin and Kings Elver basins which 
poured its frozen floods to the plain through this 
gap as its channel. I then perceived that the next " 
great gap in the belt to the northward, forty miles 
wide, extending between the Calaveras and Tuolumne 
groves, occurs in the basin of the great ancient mer 
de glace of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus basins ; and 
that the smaller gap between the Merced and Mari- 
posa groves occurs in the basin of the smaller glacier 
of the Merced. The wider the ancient glacier, the 
wider the corresponding gap in the sequoia belt. 

Finally, pursuing my investigations across the 
basins of the Kaweah and Tule, I discovered that the 
sequoia belt attained its greatest development just 
where, owing to the topographical peculiarities of the 
region, the ground had been best protected from the 
main ice-rivers that continued to pour past from the 
stmmiit fountains long after the smaller local glaciers 
had been melted. 

Taking now a general view of the belt, beginning 
at the south, we see that the majestic ancient glaciers 
were shed oflF right and left down the valleys of Kern 
and Kings Eivers by the lofty protective spurs out- 
spread embracingly above the warm sequoia-filled 
basins of the Kaweah and Tule. Then, next north- 
ward, occurs the wide sequoia-less channel, or basin 
of the ancient San Joaquin and Kings Eiver mer de 



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144 THE YOSEMITE 

glace; then the warm, protected spots of Fresno and 
Mariposa groves ; then the sequoia-less channel of the 
ancient Merced glacier; next the warm, sheltered 
ground of the Merced and Tuolimme groves ; then the 
sequoia-less channel of the grand ancient mer de 
glace of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus ; then the warm 
old ground of the Calaveras and Stanislaus groves. 
It appears, therefore, that just where, at a certain 
period in the history of the Sierra, the glaciers were 
not, there the sequoia is, and just where the glaciers 
were, there the sequoia is not 

But although all the observed phenomena bearing 
on the post-glacial history of this colossal tree point 
to the conclusion that it never was more widely dis- 
tributed on the Sierra since the close of the glacial 
epoch ; that its present forests are scarcely past prime, 
if, indeed, they have reached prime; that the post- 
glacial day of the species is probably not half done; 
yet, when from a wider outlook the vast antiquity of 
the genus is considered, and its ancient richness in 
species and individuals, — comparing our Sierra 
Giant and Sequoia sempervirens of the Coast Kange, 
the only other living species of sequoia, with the 
twelve fossil species already discovered and described 
by Eeer and Lesquereux, some of which flourished 
over vast areas in the Arctic regions and in Europe 
and our own territories, during tertiary and creta- 
ceous times — then, indeed, it becomes plain that our 



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THE BIG TEEES 146 

two surviving species, restricted to narrow belts within 
the limits of California, are mere remnants of the 
genus, both as to species and individuals, and that 
they may be verging to extinction. But the verge of 
a period beginning in cretaceous times may have a 
breadth of tens of thousands of years, not to mention 
the possible existence of conditions calculated to mul- 
tiply and re-extend both species and individuals. 

There is no absolute limit to the existence of any 
tree. Death is due to accidents, not, as that of ani- 
mals, to the wearing out of organs. Only the leaves 
die of old age. Their fall is foretold in their struc- 
ture ; but the leaves are renewed every year, and so 
also are the essential organs — wood, roots, bark, 
buds. Most of the Sierra trees die of disease, insects, 
fimgi, etc., but nothing hurts the big tree. I never 
saw one that was sick or showed the slightest sign of 
decay. Barring accidents, it seems to be immortal. 
It is a curious fact that all the very old sequoias had 
lost their heads by lightning strokes. ^^ All things 
come to him who waits.'' But of all living things, 
sequoia is perhaps the only one able to wait long 
enough to make sure of being struck by lightning. 

So far as I am able to see at present only fire 
and the ax threaten the existence of these noblest of 
God's trees. In Nature's keeping they are safe, but 
through the agency of man destruction is making 
rapid progress, while in the work of protection only 



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146 THE YOSEMITE 

a good beginning has been made. The Fresno grove, 
the Tuolumne, Merced and Mariposa groves are 
under the protection of the Federal Government in 
the Yosemite National Park. So are the Gteneral 
Grant and Sequoia National Parks ; the latter, estab- 
lished twenty-one years ago, has an area of 240 
square miles and is eflSciently guarded by a troop of 
cavalry under the direction of the Secretary of the 
Interior; so also are the small General Grant National 
Park, established at the same time with an area of 
four square miles, and the Mariposa grove, about the 
same size and the small Meroed and Tuolunme group. 
Perhaps more than half of all the big trees have 
been thoughtlessly sold and are now in the hands of 
speculators and mill men. It appears, therefore, that 
far the largest and important section of protected 
big trees is in the great Sequoia National Park, 
now easily accessible by rail to Lemon Cove and 
thence by a good stage road into the giant forest of 
the Kaweah and thence by trail to other parts of the 
park; but large as it is it should be made much 
larger. Its natural eastern boundary is the High 
Sierra and the northern and southern boundaries are 
the Kings and Kern Rivers. Thus could be included 
the sublime scenery on the headwaters of these rivers 
and perhaps nine-tenths of all the big trees in exist- 
ence. All private claims within these boimds should 
be gradually extinguished by purchase by the Govem- 



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THE BIG TREES 14t 

ment The big tree, leaving all its higher usefl out 
of the count, is a tree of life to the dwellers of 
the plain dependent on irrigation, a never-failing 
spring, sending living waters to the lowland. For 
every grove cut down a stream is dried up. There- 
fore all California is crying, " Save the trees of the 
fountains/' Nor, judging by the signs of the times, 
is it likely that the cry will cease until the salvation 
of all that is left of Sequoia gigwntea is made sure. 



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vni 

THE FLOWERS 

YOSEMITE was all one glorious flower garden 
before plows and scythes and trampling, biting 
horses came to make its wide open spaces look like 
farmers' pasture fields. Nevertheless, coimtless 
flowers still bloom every year in glorious profusion 
on the grand talus slopes, wall benches and tablets, 
and in all the fine, cool side-canons up to the rim of 
the Valley, and beyond, higher and higher, to the 
summits of the peaks. Even on the open floor and 
in easily-reached side-nooks many common flowering 
plants have survived and still make a brave show in 
the spring and early summer. Among these we may 
mention tall Oenotheras, Pentstemon lutea, and P. 
Dauglasii with fine blue and red flowers; Spraguea, 
scarlet zauschneria, with its curious radiant rosettes 
characteristic of the sandy flats; mimulus, eunanus, 
blue and white violets, geranium, columbine, eryth- 
raea, larkspur, coUomia, draperia, gilias, heleniums, 
bahia, goldenrods, daisies, honeysuckle ; heuchera, bo- 
landra, saxifrages, gentians ; in cool canon nooks and 

on Clouds' Rest and the base of Starr King Dome you 

148 



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THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 



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THE FLOWEES 149 

may find Primula suffrviescens, the only wild prim- 
rose discovered in California, and the only known 
shrubby species in the genus. And there are several 
fine orchids, habenaria, and cypripedium, the latter 
very rare, once common in the Valley near the foot of 
Glacier Point, and in a bog on the rim of the Val- 
ley near a place called Gentry^s Station, now aban- 
doned. It is a very beautiful species, the large oval 
lip white, delicately veined with purple; the other 
petals and the sepals purple, strap-shaped, and ele- 
gantly curled and twisted. 

Of the lily family, fritillaria, smilacina, chloroga- 
lum and several fine species of brodiaea, Ithuriel's* 
spear, and others less prized are common, and the 
favorite calochortu^ or Mariposa lily, a unique 
genus of many speciee,. something like the tulips of 
Europe but far finer. Most of them grow on the 
warm foothills below the< Valley, but two charming 
species, G. ccendeus and 0. nvdus^ dwell in springy 
places on the Wawona road a few miles beyond the 
brink of the walls. 

The snow plant {Barcodes sanguinea) is more ad- 
mired by tourists than any other in California. It 
is red, fleshy and watery and looks like a gigantic 
asparagus shoot. Soon after the snow is oS the 
ground it rises through the dead needles and humus 
in the pine and fir woods like a bright glowing pil- 
lar of fire. In a week or so it grows to a height of 



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160 THE TOSEMITE 

eight or twelve inches with a diameter of an inch 
and a half or two inches ; then its long fringed bracts 
curl aside, allowing the twenty- or thirty-five-lobed, 
beU-«haped flowers to open and look straight out from 
the axis. It is said to grow up through the «iow; 
on the contrary, it always waits until the groimd is 
warm, thou^ with other early flowers it is occasion- 
ally buried or half-buried for a day or two by spring 
storms. The entire plant — flowers, bracts, stem, 
scales, and roots — is fiery red. Its color should ap- 
peal to one^s blood. Nevertheless, it is a singularly 
cold and unsympathetic plant Everybody admires 
it as a wonderful curiosity, but nobody loves it as 
lilies, violets, roses, daisies are loved. Without fra- 
grance, it stands beneath the pines and firs lonely 
and silent, as if unacquainted with any other plant 
in the world; never moving in the wildest storms; 
rigid as if lifeless, though covered with beautiful rosy 
flowers. 

Far the most delightful and fragrant of the Valley 
flowers is the Washington lily, white, moderate in 
size, with from three- to ten-flowered racemes. I 
found one specimen in the lower end of the Valley at 
the foot of the Wawona grade that was eight feet 
high, the raceme two feet long, with fifty-two flowers, 
fifteen of them open; the others had faded or were 
still in the bud. This famous lily is distributed over 
the sunny portions of the sugar-pine woods, never in 



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THE FLOWEES 151 

large meadow-garden companies like the large and 
the small tiger lilies (pardalinum and parvum), but 
widely scattered, standing up to the waist in dense 
ceanothus and manzanita chaparral, waving its lovely 
flowers above the blooming wilderness of brush, and 
giving their fragrance to the breeze. It is now 
becoming scarce in the most accessible parts of its 
range on account of the high price paid for its bulbs 
by gardeners through whom it has been distributed 
far and wide over the flower-loving world. For, on 
account of its pure color and delicate, delightful fra- 
grance, all lily lovers at once adopted it as a favor- 
ite. 

The principal shrubs are manzanita and ceanothus, 
several species of each, azalea, Bubus nutkanus, brier 
rose, choke-cherry, philadelphus, calycanthus, garrya, 
rhamnus, etc. 

The manzanita never fails to attract particular at- 
tention. The species common in the Valley is usually 
about SIX or seven feet high, round-headed with in- 
numerable branches, red or chocolate-color bark, pale 
green leaves set on edge, and a rich profusion of 
small, pink, narrow-throated, urn-shaped flowers, like 
those of arbutus. The knotty, crooked, angular 
branches are about as rigid as bones, and the red 
bark is so thin and smooth on both trunk and 
branches, they look as if they had been peeled and 
polished and painted. In the spring large areas on 



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162 THE YOSEMITE 

the monntain up f o a height of eight or nine thousand 
feet are brightened with the rosy flowers, and in 
autumn with their red fruit The pleasantly acid 
berries, about the size of peas, look like little apples, 
and a hungry mountaineer is glad to eat them, 
though half their bulk is made up of hard seeds. 
Indians, bears, coyotes, foxes, birds and other moun- 
tain people live on them for weeks and months. The 
different species of ceanothus usually associated with 
manzanita are flowery fragrant and altogether de- 
lightful shrubs, growing in glorious abundance, not 
only in the Valley, but high up in the forest on sunny 
or half -shaded ground. In the sugar-pine woods the 
most beautiful species is 0. integerrimvs, often called 
Califomian lilac, or deer brush. It is five or six 
feet high with slender branches, glossy foliage, and 
abundance of blue flowers in close, showy panicles. 
Two species, C. prostratus and C procumhens, spread 
smooth, blue-flowered mats and rugs beneath the 
pines, and offer fine beds to tired mountaineers. The 
commonest species, (7. cordulatus, is most common in 
the silver-fir woods. It is white-flowered and thorny, 
and makes dense thickets of tangled chaparral, dif- 
ficult to wade through or to walk over. But it is 
pressed flat every winter by ten or fifteen feet of 
snow. The western azalea makes glorious beds of 
bloom along the river bank and meadows. In the 
Valley it is from two to five feet high, has fine 



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THE FLOWERS 158 

green leaves, mostly hidden beneath its rich profu- 
sion of large, fragrant white and yellow flowers, 
which are in their prime in June, July and August, 
according to the elevation, ranging from 3000 to 
6000 feet Near the azalea-bordered streams the 
small wild rose, resembling B. blanda, makes large 
thickets deliciously fragrant, especially on a dewy 
morning and after showers. Not far from these 
azalea and rose gardens, Ruhus nutkanus covers the 
ground with broad, soft, velvety leaves, and pure- 
white flowers as large as those of its neighbor and 
relative, the rose, and much finer in texture, followed 
at the end of summer by soft red berries good for 
everybody. This is the commonest and the most 
beautiful of the whole blessed, flowery, fruity Eubus 
genus. 

There are a great many interesting ferns in the 
Valley and about it Naturally enough the greater 
number are rock ferns — pellsea, cheilanthes, poly- 
podium, adiantum, woodsia, cryptogramma, etc., with 
small tufted fronds, lining cool glens and frin^ng 
the seams of the cliffs. The most important of the 
larger species are woodwardia, aspidium, asplenium, 
and, above all, the common pteris. Woodwardia 
radicans is a superb, broad-shouldered fern five to 
eight feet high, growing in vase-shaped clumps where 
the ground is nearly level and on some of the 
benches of the north wall of the Valley where it is 



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164 THE YOSEMITE 

watered by a broad trickling stream. It thatches the 
sloping rocks, frond overlapping frond like roof 
shingles. The broad-fronded, hardy Pteris aquilina, 
the commonest of ferns, covers large areas on the floor 
of the Valley. No other fern does so much for the 
color glory of autumn, with its browns and reds and 
yellows, even after lying dead beneath the snow all 
winter. It spreads a rich brown mantle over the 
desolate ground in the spring before the grass has 
sprouted, and at the first touch of sun-heat its young 
fronds come rearing up full of faith and hope 
through the midst of the last yearns ruins. 

Of the five species of pelleea, P. Breweri is the 
hardiest as to enduring high altitudes and stormy 
weather and at the same time it is the most fragile 
of the genus. It grows in dense tufts in the clefts 
of storm-beaten rocks, high up on the mountain-side 
on the very edge of the fern line. It is a handsome 
little fern about four or five inches high, has pale- 
green pinnate fronds, and shining bronze-colored 
stalks about as brittle as glass. Its companions on 
the lower part of its range are Cryptogramma acroslir 
choides and Phegopteris alpestris, the latter with soft, 
delicate fronds, not in the least like those of Bock 
fern, though it grows on the rocks where the snow lies 
longest. Pellaea Bridgesii, with blue-green, narrow, 
simply-pinnate fronds, is about the same size as 
Breweri and ranks next to it as a mountaineer, grow- 



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THE FLOWEES 155 

ing in fissures, wet or dry, and around the edges of 
boulders that are resting on glacier pavements with 
no fissures whatever. About a thousand feet lower 
we find the smaller, more abundant P. densa on ledges 
and boulder-strewn, fissured pavements, watered until 
late in summer from oozing currents, derived from 
lingering snowbanks. It is, or rather was, extremely 
abundant between the foot of the Nevada and the 
head of the Vernal Fall, but visitors with great indus- 
try have dug out almost every root, so that now one 
has to scramble in out-of-the-way places to find it. 
The three species of Cheilanthes in the Valley — C. 
califomica, 0. gracillima, and myriophylla, with 
beautiful two-to-four-pinnate fronds, an inch to five 
inches long, adorn the stupendous walls however dry 
and sheer. The exceedingly delicate califomica is 
so rare that I have found it only once. The others 
are abundant and are sometimes accompanied by the 
little gold fern, Oymnogramme triangularis, and 
rarely by the curious little Botrychium simplex, 
some of them less than an inch high. The finest of 
all the rock ferns is Adiantum pedatumy lover of 
waterfalls and the finest spray-dust. The homes it 
loves best are over-leaning, cave-like hollows, beside 
the la]^er falls, where it can wet its fingers with 
their dewy spray. Many of these moss-lined 
chambers contain thousands of these delightful ferns, 
clinging to mossy walls by the slightest hold, reaching 



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156 THE YOSEMITE 

out their delicate finger-fronds on dark, shining 
stalks, sensitive and tremulous, throbbing in unison 
with every movement and tone of the falling water, 
moving each division of the frond separately at times, 
as if fingering the music 

May and June are the main bloom-months of the 
year. Bo.th the flowers and falls are then at their 
best. By the first of August the midsummer glories 
of the Valley are past their prime. The young birds 
are then out of their nests. Most of the plants have 
gone to seed ; berries are ripe ; autumn tints begin to 
kindle and bum over meadow and grove, and a soft 
mellow haze in the morning sunbeams heralds the 
approach of Indian siunmer. The shallow river is 
now at rest, its flood-work done. It is now but little 
more than a series of pools united by trickling, 
whispering currents that steal softly over brown peb- 
bles and sand with scarce an audible murmur. Each 
pool has a character of its own and, though they are 
nearly currentless, the night air and tree shadows keep 
them cool. Their shores curve in and out in bay and 
promontory, giving the appearance of miniature 
lakes, their banks in most places embossed with brier 
and azalea, sedge and grass and fern ; and above these 
in their glory of autumn colors a mingled growth of 
alder, willow, dogwood and balm-of-Gilead ; mellow 
sunshine overhead, cool shadows beneath; light 
filtered and strained in passing through the ripe 



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THE FLOWERS 161 

leaves like that which passes through colored windows. 
The surface of the water is stirred, perhaps, hy 
whirling water-beetles, or some startled trout, seeking 
shelter beneath fallen logs or roots. The falls, too, 
are quiet; no wind stirs, and the whole Valley floor 
is a mosaic of greens and purples, yellows and reds. 
Even the rocks seem strangely soft and mellow, as 
if they, too, had ripened. 



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IX 

THE BIRDS 

THE songs of the Yosemite winds and waterfalls 
are delightfully enriched with bird song, espe- 
cially in the nesting time of spring and early sum- 
mer. The most familiar and best known of all is 
the common robin, who may be seen every day, hop- 
ping about briskly on the meadows and uttering his 
cheery, enlivening calL The black-headed grosbeak, 
too, is here, with the Bullock oriole, and western 
tanager, brown song-sparrow, hermit thrush, the 
purple finch, — a fine singer, with head and throat of 
a rosy-red hue, — several species of warblers and 
vireos, kinglets, flycatchers, etc 

But the most wonderful singer of all the birds 
is the water-ouzel that dives into foaming rapids and 
feeds at the bottom, holding on in a wonderful way, 
living a charmed life. 

Several species of humming-birds are always to be 

seen, darting and buzzing among the showy flowers. 

The little red-bellied nuthatches, the chickadees, and 

little brown creepers, threading the furrows of the 

bark of the pines, searching for food in the crevices. 

158 



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THE BIRDS 159 

The large Steller's jay makes merry in the pine-tops; 
flocks of beautiful green swallows skim over the 
streams, and the noisy Clarke's crow may oftentimes 
be seen on the highest points around the Valley; 
and in the deep woods beyond the walls you may fre- 
quently hear and see the dusky grouse and the pileated 
woodpecker, or woodcock almost as large as a pigeon. 
The junco or snow-bird builds its nest on the floor of 
the Valley among the ferns ; several species of spar- 
row are common and the beautiful lazuli bunting, 
a common bird in the underbrush, flitting about 
among the azalea and ceanothus bushes and enliven- 
ing the groves with his brilliant color ; and on gravelly 
bars the spotted sandpiper is sometimes seen. Many 
woodpeckers dwell in the Valley ; the familiar flicker, 
the Harris woodpecker and the species which so 
busily stores up acorns in the thick bark of the yel- 
low pines. 

The short, cold days of winter are also sweetened 
with the music and hopeful chatter of a considerable 
number of birds. No cheerier choir ever Bang in 
snow. First and best of all is the water-ouzel, a 
dainty, dusky little bird about the size of a robin, 
that sings a sweet fluty song all winter and all sum- 
mer, in storms and calms, simshine and shadow, 
haunting the rapids and waterfalls with marvelous 
constancy, building his nest in the cleft of a rock 
bathed in spray. He is not web-footed, yet he dives 



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160 THE YOSEMITE 

fearlessly into foaming rapids, seeming to take the 
greater delight the more boisterous the stream, al- 
ways as cheerful and calm as any linnet in a grove. 
All his gestures as he flits about amid the loud up- 
roar of the falls bespeak the utmost simplicity and 
confidence — bird and stream one and inseparable. 
What a pairl yet they are well related. A finer 
bloom than the foam bell in an eddying pool is this 
little bird. We may miss the meaning of the loud- 
resounding torrent, but the flute-like voice of the 
bird — only love is in it 

A few robins, belated on their way down from the 
upper meadows, linger in the Valley and make out to 
spend the winter in comparative comfort, feeding on 
the mistletoe berries that grow on the oaks. In the 
depths of the great forests, on the high meadows, in 
the severest altitudes, they seem as much at home as 
in the fields and orchards about the busy habitations 
of man, ascending the Sierra as the snow melts, fol- 
lowing the green footsteps of Spring, until in July or 
August the highest glacier meadows are reached on 
the summit of the Range. Then, after the short sum- 
mer is over, and their work in cheering and sweeten- 
ing these lofty wilds is done, they gradually make 
their way down again in accord with the weather, 
keeping below the snow-storms, lingering here and 
there to feed on huckleberries and frost-nipped wild 
cherries growing on the upper slopes. Thence down 



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THE BIEDS 161 

to the vineyards and orchards of the lowlands to 
spend the winter; entering the gardens of the great 
towns as well as parks and fields, where the Uessed 
wanderers are too often slaughtered for food — surely 
a bad use to put so fine a musician to; better make 
stove wood of pianos to feed the kitchen fire. 

The kingfisher winters in the Valley, and the 
flicker and, of course, the carpenter woodpecker, that 
lays up large stores of acorns in the bark of trees; 
wrens also, with a few brown and gray linnets, and 
flocks of the arctic bluebird, making lively pictures 
among the snow-laden mistletoe bushes. Flocks of 
pigeons are often seen, and about six species of 
ducks, as the river is never wholly frozen over. 
Among these are the mallard and the beautiful wood- 
duck, now less common on account of being so often 
shot at Flocks of wandering geese used to visit the 
Valley in March and April, and perhaps do so still, 
driven down by himger or stress of weather while on 
their way across the Range. When pursued by the 
hunters I have frequently seen them try to fly over 
the walls of the Valley until tired out and compelled 
to re-alight Yosemite magnitudes seem to be as de- 
ceptive to geese as to men, for after circling to a 
considerable height and forming regular harrow- 
shaped ranks they would suddenly find themselves in 
danger of being dashed against the face of the cliS, 
much nearer the bottom than the top. Then turn- 



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162 THE YOSEMITE 

ing in confusion with loud screams they would try 
again and again until exhausted and compelled to 
descend. I have occasionally observed large flocks on 
their travels crossing the smnmits of the Range at 
a height of 12,000 to 18,000 feet above the level of 
the sea, and even in so rare an atmosphere as this 
they seemed to be sustaining themselves without ex- 
tra effort Strong, however, as they are of wind and 
wing, they cannot fly over Yosemite walls, starting 
from the bottom. 

A pair of golden eagles have lived in the Valley 
ever since I first visited it, hunting all winter along 
the northern cliffs and down the river cafion. Their 
nest is on a ledge of the cliff over which pours the 
Nevada FalL Perched on the top of a dead spar, 
they were always interested observers of the geese 
when they were being shot at. I once noticed one of 
the geese compelled to leave the flock on account of 
being sorely woimded, although it still seemed to fly 
pretty well. Immediately the eagles pursued it and 
no doubt struck it down, although I did not see the 
result of the hunt. Anyhow, it flew past me up the 
Valley, closely pursued. 

One wild, stormy winter morning after five feet 
of snow had fallen on the floor of the Valley and the 
flying flakes driven by a strong wind still thickened 
the air, making darkness like the approach of night, 
I sallied forth to see what I might learn and enjoy. 



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THE BIEDS 168 

It was impossible to go very far without the aid of 
snow-shoes, but I found no great difficulty in making 
my way to a part of the river where one of my ouzels 
lived. I found him at home busy about his break- 
fast, apparently unaware of anything uncomfortable 
in the weather. Presently he flew out to a stone 
against which the icy current was beating, and turn- 
ing his back to the wind, sang as delightfully as a 
lark in springtime. 

After spending an hour or two with my favorite, 
I made my way across the Valley, boring and 
wallowing through the loose snow, to learn as much 
as possible about the way the other birds were spend- 
ing their time. In winter one can always find them 
because they are then restricted to the north side 
of the Valley, especially the Indian Canon groves, 
which from their peculiar exposure are the warmest 

I found most of the robins cowering on the lee 
side of the larger branches of the trees, where the 
snow could not fall on them, while two or three of the 
more venturesome were making desperate efforts to get 
at the mistletoe berries by clinging to the underside 
of the snow-crowned masses, back downward, some- 
thing like woodpeckers. Every now and then some 
of the loose snow was dislodged and sifted down on 
the hungry birds, sending them screaming back to 
their companions in the grove, shivering and mutter- 
ing like cold, hungry children. 



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164 THE YOSEMITE 

Some of the sparrows were busy scratching and 
pecking at the feet of the larger trees where the snow 
had been shed off, gleaning seeds and benumbed in- 
sects, joined now and then by a robin weary of his 
nnsuccessful eflForts to get at the snow-covered mistle- 
toe berries. The brave woodpeckers were clinging to 
the snowless sides of the larger boles and overarch- 
ing branches of the camp trees, making short flights 
from side to side of the grove, pecking now and then 
at the acorns they had stored in the bark, and chat- 
tering aimlessly as if nnable to keep still, evidently 
putting in the time in a very dull way. The hardy 
nuthatches were threading the open furrows of the 
barks in their usual industrious manner and uttering 
their quaint notes, giving no evidence of distress. 
The Steller's jays were, of course, making more noise 
and stir then all the other birds combined ; ever com- 
ing and going with loud bluster, screaming as if 
each had a lump of melting sludge in his throat, and 
taking good care to improve every opportunity af- 
forded by the darkness and confusion of the storm 
to steal from the acorn stores of the woodpeckers. 
One of the golden eagles made an impressive picture 
as he stood bolt upright on the top of a tall pine- 
stump, braving the storm,- with his back to the wind 
and a tuft of snow piled on his broad shoulders, a 
monument of passive endurance. Thus every storm- 
bound bird seemed more or less uncomfortable, if 



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5LiC LIBRARY 



ASTOR. LENOX AND 
TH DEN FOUNDATIONS. 



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'THE BIRDS 165 

not in distress. The storm was reflected in every ges- 
ture, and not one cheerful note, not to say song, came 
from' a single bilL Their cowering, joyless endur- 
ance offered striking contrasts to the spontaneous, ir^ 
repressible gladness of the ouzel, who could no more 
help giving out sweet song than a rose sweet fra- 
grance. He must sing, though the heavens fall. 



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THE SOUTH DOME 

TTTITH the exception of a few spires and pin- 
f f , nadeSy the South Dome is the only rock 
about the Valley that is strictly inaccessible without 
artificial means, and its inaccessibility is expressed 
in severe terms. Nevertheless many a mountaineer, 
gazing admiringly, tried hard to invent a way to the 
top of its noble crown — all in vain, until in the year 
1875, George Anderson, an indomitable Scotchman, 
undertook the adventure. The side facing Tenaya 
Canon is an absolutely vertical precipice from the 
summit to a depth of about 1600 feet, and on the 
opposite side it is nearly vertical for about as great 
a depth. The southwest side presents a very steep 
and finely drawn curve from the top down a thou- 
sand feet or more, while on the northeast, where it 
is united with the Clouds' Eest Eidge, one may 
easily reach a point called the Saddle, about seven 
hundred feet below the summit From the Saddle 
the Dome rises in a graceful curve a few degrees 

too steep for unaided climbing, besides being de- 

166 



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THE SOUTH DOME 167 

fended by overleaning ends of the concentric dome 
layers of the granite. 

A year or two before Anderson gained the snnmiit> 
John Conway, the master trail-builder of the VaUey, 
and his little sons^ who climbed smooth rocks like 
lizards, made a bold effort to reach the top by climb- 
ing barefooted np the grand curve with a rope which 
they fastened at irregular intervals by means of 
eye-bolts driven into joints of the rock. But find- 
ing that the upper part would require laborious 
drilling, they abandoned the attempt, glad to escape 
from the dangerous position they had reached, some 
300 feet above the Saddle, Anderson began with 
Conway's old rope, which had been left in place, 
and resolutely drilled his way to the top, inserting 
eye-bolts five to six feet apart, and making his rope 
fast to each in succession, resting his feet on the 
last bolt while he drilled a hole for the next above. 
Occasionally some irregularity in the curve, or slight 
foothold, would enable him to climb a few feet with- 
out a rope, which he would pass and begin drilling 
again, and thus the whole work was accomplished in 
a few days. From this slender beginning he pro- 
posed to construct a substantial stairway which he 
hoped to complete in time for the next year's travel, 
but while busy getting out timber for his stairway 
and dreaming of the wealth he hoped to gain from 



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168 THE YOSEMITE 

tolls, he was taken sick and died all alone in his 
little cabin. 

On the 10th of November, after returning from a 
visit to Mount Shasta, a month or two after Ander- 
son had gained the summit, I made haste to the 
Dome, not only for the pleasure of climbing, but 
to see what I might learn. The first winter storm- 
clouds had blossomed and the mountains and all the 
high points about the Valley were mantled in fresh 
snow. I was, therefore, a little apprehensive of dan- 
ger from the slipperiness of the rope and the rocL 
Anderson himself tried to prevent me from making 
the attempt, refusing to believe that any one could 
climb his rope in the snow-muffled condition in which 
it then was. Moreover, the sky was overcast and 
solemn snow-clouds began to curl around the summit, 
and my late experiences on icy Shasta came to mind. 
But reflecting that I had matches in my pocket, and 
that a little fire-wood might be found, I concluded 
that in case of a storm the night could be spent on 
the Dome without suffering anything worth mind- 
ing, no matter what the clouds might bring forth. 
I therefbre pushed on and gained the top. 

It was one of those brooding, changeful days that 
come between the Indian summer and winter, when 
the leaf colors have grown dim and the clouds come 
and go among the cliffs like living creatures looking 
for work: now hovering aloft, now caressing rugged 



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THE SOUTH DOME 169 

rock-brows "with great gentleness, or, wandering afar 
over the tops of the forests, touching the spires of fir 
and pine with their soft silken fringes as if trying to 
tell the glad news of the coming of snow. 

The first view was perfectly glorious. A massive 
cloud of pure pearl luster, apparently as fixed and 
calm as the meadows and groves in the shadow be- 
neath it, was arched across the Valley from wall to 
wall, one end resting on the grand abutment of El 
Capitan, Jhe other on Cathedral Rock. A little 
later, as I stood on the tremendous verge overlooking 
Mirror Lake, a flock of smaller clouds, white as 
snow, came from the north, trailing their downy 
skirts over the dark forests, and entered the Valley 
with solenm god-like gestures through Indian Canon 
and over the North Dome and Royal Arches, moving 
swiftly, yet with majestic deliberation. On they 
came, nearer and nearer, gathering and massing be- 
neath my feet and filling the Tenaya Canon. Then 
the sun shone free, lighting the pearly gray surface 
of the cloud-like sea and making it glow. Gazing, 
admiring, I was startled to see for the first time the 
rare optical phenomenon of the " Specter of the 
Brocken." . My shadow, clearly outlined, about half 
a mile long, lay upon this glorious white surface with 
startling effect. I walked back and forth, waved my 
arms and struck all sorts of attitudes, to see every 
slightest movement enormously exaggerated. Con- 



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170 THE YOSEMITE 

sidering that I have looked down so many times from 
mountain tops on seas of all sorts of douds, it seems 
strange that I should have seen the ^' Brocken 
Specter " only this once. A grander surface and a 
grander standpoint, however, could hardly have 
been found in all the Sierra. 

After this grand show the cloud-sea rose higher, 
wreathing the Dome, and for a short time submei^' 
ing it, making darkness like night, and I b^an to 
think of looking for a camp ground in a cluster of 
dwarf pines. But soon the sun shone free again, 
the clouds, sinking lower and lower, gradually 
vanished, leaving the Valley with its Indian-sum- 
mer colors apparently refreshed, while to the east- 
ward the summit-peaks, clad in new snow, towered 
along the horizon in glorious array. 

Though apparently it is perfectly bald, there are 
four clumps of pines growing on the summit, repre- 
senting three species, Finns albicaulis, P. contorta 
and P. ponderosa, var. Jeffreyi — all three, of 
course, repressed and storm-beaten. The alpine 
spirsea grows here also and blossoms profusely with 
potentilla, erigeron, eriogonum, pentstemon, soli- 
dago, and an interesting species of onion, and four 
or five species of grasses and sedges. None of these 
differs in any respect from those of other summits of 
the same height, excepting the curious little narrow- 



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THE SOUTH DOME 171 

leaved^ waxen-bulbed onion, which I had not seen 
elsewhere. 

Notwithstanding the enthusiastic eagerness of 
tourists to reach the crown of the Dome the views 
of the Valley from this lofty standpoint are less 
striking than from many other points comparatively 
low, chiefly on account of the foreshortening effect 
produced by looking down from so great a height. 
The North Dome is dwarfed almost beyond recogni- 
tion, the grand sculpture of the Royal Arches is 
scarcely noticeable, and the whole range of walls on 
both sides seem comparatively low, especially when 
the Valley is flooded with noon sunshine ; while the 
Dome itself, the most sublime feature of all the To- 
Semite views, is out of sight beneath one's feet. The 
view of Little Tosemite Valley is very fine, though 
inferior to one obtained from the base of the Starr 
King Cone, but the summit landscapes towards 
Mounts Eitter, Lyell, Dana, Conness, and the Merced 
Group, are very effective and complete. 

No one has attempted to carry out Anderson's plan 
of making the Dome accessible. For my part I 
should prefer leaving it in pure wildness, though, 
after all, no great damage could be done by tramping 
over it The surface would be strewn with tin cans 
and botUes, but the winter gales would blow the rub- 
bish away. Avalanches might strip off any sort of 



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172 THE YOSEMITE 

stairway or ladder that might be built. Blue jays 
and Clark crows have trodden the Dome for many a 
day^ and so have beetles and chipmunks^ and Tissiaek 
would hardly be more " conquered ^' or spoiled should 
man be added to her list of visitors. His louder 
scream and heavier scrambling would not stir a 
line of her countenance. 

When the sublime ice-floods of the glacial period 
poured down the flank of the Bange over what is 
now Yosemite Valley, they were compelled to break 
through a dam of domes extending across from Mount 
Starr Xing to North Dome; and as the period be- 
gan to draw near a close the shallowing ice-currants 
were divided and the South Dome was, perhaps, the 
first to emerge, burnished and shining like a mirror 
above the surface of the icy sea; and though it has 
sustained the wear and tear of the elements tens of 
thousands of years, |t yet remains a telling monu- 
ment of the action of th6 great glaciers that brought 
it to light. Its entire surface is still covered with 
glacial hieroglyphics whose interpretation is the re- 
ward of all who devoutly study them. 



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THE NEW YORKI 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



A8T0R, LENOK AMD 
TILDEN FOUNDAIKHIS. 



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XI 

THE ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS: 
HOW THE VALLEY WAS FORMED 

ALL California has been glaciated, the low plains 
and valleys as well as the mountains. Traces 
of an ice-sheet, thousands of feet in thickness, be- 
neath whose heavy folds the present landscapes have 
been molded, may be found everywhere, though gla- 
ciers now exist only among the peaks of the High 
Sierra. No other mountain chain on this or any 
other of the continents that I have seen is so rich 
as the Sierra in bold, striking, well-preserved glacial 
monuments. Indeed, every feature is more or less 
tellingly glacial. Not a peak, ridge, dome, canon, 
yosemite, lake-basin, stream or forest will you see 
that does not in some way explain the past existence 
and modes of action of flowing, grinding, sculptur- 
ing, soil-making, scenery-making ice. For, notwith- 
standing the post-glacial agents — the air, rain, 
snow, frost, river, avalanche, etc. — have been at 
work upon the greater portion of the Range for tens 
of thousands of stormy years, each engraving its 

own characters more and more deeply over those of 

173 



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174 THE YOSEMITE 

the ice^ the latter are so enduring and bo heavily em- 
phasized, they still rise in sublime relief, dear and 
legible, through every after-inscription. The land- 
scapes of North Greenland, Antarctia, and some 
of those of our own Alaska, are still being fashioned 
beneath a slow-crawling mantle of ice, from a quarter 
of a mile to probably more than a mile in thickness, 
presenting noble illustrations of the ancient con- 
dition of California, when its sublime scenery lay 
hidden in process of formation. On the Himalaya, 
the mountains of Norway and Switzerland, the Cau- 
casus, and on most of those of Alaska, their ice- 
mantle has been melted down into separate glaciers 
that flow river-like through the valleys, illustrating 
a similar past condition in the Sierra, when every 
canon and valley was the channel of an ice-stream, 
all of which may be easily traced back to their foun- 
tains, where some sixty-five or seventy of their top- 
most residual branches still linger beneath protecting 
mountain shadows. 

The change from one to another of those glacial 
conditions was slow as we count time. When the 
great cycle of snow years, called the Glacial Period, 
was nearly complete in California, the ice-mantle, 
wasting from season to season faster than it was re- 
newed, began to withdraw from the lowlands and 
gradually became shallower everywhere. Then the 
highest of the Sierra domes and dividing ridges. 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE QLACIEKS 176 

containing distinct glaciers between them, began to | 
appear above the icy sea. These first river-like gla- 
ciers remained united in one continuous sheet to- 
ward the summit of the Eange for many centuries. 
But as the snow-fall diminished, and the climate be- 
came milder, this upper part of the ice-sheet was 
also in turn separated into smaller distinct glaciers, 
and these again into still smaller ones, while at the 
same time all were growing shorter and shallower, 
though fluctuations of the climate now and then oc- 
curred that brought their receding ends to a stand- 
still, or even enabled them to advance for a few 
tens or hundreds of years. 

Meanwhile, hardy, home-seeking plants and ani- 
mals, after long waiting, flocked to their appointed 
places, pushing bravely on higher and higher, along 
every sun-warmed slope, closely following the re- 
treating ice, which, like shreds of summer clouds, at 
length vanished from the new-bom mountains, leav- 
ing them in all their main, telling features nearly as 
we find them now. 

Tracing the ways of glaciers, learning how Nature 
sculptures mountain-waves in making scenery-beauty 
that so mysteriously influences every human being, 
is glorious work. 

The most striking and attractive of the glacial phe- 
nomena in the upper Yosemite region are the 
polished glacier pavements, because they are so 



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176 THE TOSEMITE 

beautiful^ and their beauty is of so rare a kind, so 
unlike any portion of the loose, deeply weathered 
lowlands where people make homes and earn their 
bread. They are simply flat or gently undulating 
areas of hard resisting granite, which present the un- 
changed surface upon which with enormous pressure 
the ancient glaciers flowed. They are found in most 
perfect condition in the subalpine region, at an ele- 
vation of from eight thousand to nine thousand feet 
Some are miles in extent, only slightly interrupted 
by spots that have given way to the weather, while 
the best preserved portions reflect the sunbeams like 
calm water or glass, and shine as if polished afresh 
every day, notwithstanding they have been exposed to 
corroding rains, dew, frost, and snow measureless 
thoTisands of years. 

The attention of wandering hunters and prospec- 
tors, who see so many moimtain wonders, is seldom 
commanded by other glacial phenomena, moraines 
however regular and artificial-looking, canons how- 
ever deep or strangely modeled, rocks however high ; 
but when they come to these shining pavements they 
stop and stare in wondering admiration, kneel again 
and again to examine the brightest spots, and try 
hard to account for their mysterious shining smooth- 
ness. They may have seen the winter avalanches of 
snow descending in awful majesty through the woods, 
scouring the rocks and sweeping away like weeds the 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIEKS 111 

trees that stood in their way, but conclude that this 
cannot be the work of avalanches, because the 
scratches and fine polished strise show that the 
agent, whatever it was, moved along the sides of 
high rocks and ridges and up over the tops of them 
as well as down their slopes. Neither can they see 
how water may possibly have been the agent, for 
they find the same strange polish upon ridges and 
domes thousands of feet above the reach of any con- 
ceivable flood. Of all the agents of whose work they 
know anything, only the wind seems capable of mov- 
ing across the face of the country in the directions 
indicated by the scratches and grooves. The Indian 
name of Lake Tenaya is "Pyweak" — the lake 
of shining rocks. One of the Yosemite tribe, Indian. 
Tom, came to me and asked if I could tell him what 
had made the Tenaya rocks so smooth. Even dogs 
and horses, when first led up the mountains, study 
geology to this extent that they gaze wonderingly at 
the strange brightness of the ground and smell it, 
and place their feet cautiously upon it as if afraid 
of falling or sinking. 

In the production of this admirable hard finish, 
the glaciers in many places flowed with a pressure 
of more than a thousand tons to the square yard, 
planing down granite, slate, and quartz alike, and 
bringing out the veins and crystals of the rocks 
with beautiful distinctness. Over large areas below 

12 



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178 THE YOSEMITE 

the sources of the Tuolumne and Meroed the granite 
is porphyritic; feldspar crystals an inch or two in 
length in many places form the greater part of the 
rocky and these, when planed off level with the gen- 
eral surface, give rise to a beautiful mosaic on which 
the happy sunbeams plash and glow in passionate 
enthusiasm. Here lie the brightest of all the Sierra 
landscapes. The Eange both to the north and south 
of this region was, perhaps, glaciated about as 
heavily, but because the rocks are less resisting, their 
polished surfaces have mostly given way to the 
weather, leaving only small imperfect patches. The 
lowest remnants of the old glacial surface occur at 
an elevation of from 3000 to 5000 feet above the sea- 
level, and twenty to thirty miles below the axis of 
the Kange. The short, steeply inclined cafions of 
the eastern flank also contain ^iduring, brilliantly 
striated and polished rocks, but these are less mag- 
nificent than those of the broad western flank. 

One of the best general views of the brightest and 
best of the Yosemite park landscapes that every Yo- 
semite tourist should see, is to be had from the top 
of Fairview Dome, a lofty conoidal rock near Ca- 
thedral Peak that long ago I named the Tuolimme 
Glacier Monument, one of the most striking and best 
preserved of the domes. Its burnished crown is 
about 1500 feet above the Tuolimme Meadows and 
10,000 above the sea. At first sight it seems inac- 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS 179 

cessible, though a good climber will find it may be 
scaled on the south side. About half-way up you 
will find it so steep that there is danger of slipping, 
but feldspar crystals, two or three inches long, of 
which the rock is full, having offered greater resist- 
ance to atmospheric erosion than the mass of the rock 
in which they are imbedded, have been brought into 
slight relief in some places, roughening the surface 
here and there, and affording helping footholds. 

The summit is burnished and scored like the sides 
and base, the scratches and strise indicating that the 
mighty Tuolumne Glacier swept over it as if it were 
only a mere boulder in the bottom of its channeL 
The pressure it withstood must have been enormous. 
Had it been less solidly built it would have been 
carried away, ground into moraine fragments, like 
the adjacent rock in which it lay mibedded; for, 
great as it is, it is only a hard residual knot like the 
Tosemite domes, brought into relief by the removal 
of less resisting rock about it ; an illustration of the 
survival of the strongest and most favorably situated. 

Hardly less wonderful is the resistance it has of- 
fered to the trying mountain weather since first its 
crown rose above the icy sea. The whole quantity 
of post-glacial wear and tear it has suffered has not 
degraded it a hundredth of an inch, as may readily 
be shown by the polished portions of the surface. A 
few erratic boulders, nicely poised on its crown, tell 



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180 THE TOSEMITE 

an interesting story. They came from the summit^ 
peaks twelve miles away^ drifting like chips on the 
frozen sea^ and were stranded here when the top of 
the monnment merged from the ice^ while thdr com- 
panionS; whose positions chanced to be above the 
slopes of the sides where they conld not find rest, 
were carried farther on by falling ba(& on the shal- 
lowing ice current 

The general view from the summit consists of a 
sublime assemblage of ice-bom rocks and mountains, 
long wavering ridges, meadows, lakes, and forest- 
covered moraines, hundreds of square miles of them. 
The lofty summit-peaks rise grandly along the s^ 
to the east, the gray pillared slopes of the Hoff- 
man Bange toward the west^ and a billowy sea of 
shining rocks like the Monument, some of them 
almost as high and which from their peculiar 
sculpture seem to be rolling westward in the mid- 
dle ground, something like breaking waves. Im- 
mediately beneath you are the Big Tuolumne 
Meadows, smooth lawns with large breadths of 
woods on either side, and watered by the young 
Tuolumne Eiver, rushing cool and clear from its 
many snow- and ice-fountains. Nearly all the upper 
part of the basin of the Tuolumne Glacier is in sight, 
one of the greatest and most influential of all the 
Sierra ice-rivers. Lavishly flooded by many a noble 
affluent from the ice-laden flanks of Mounts Dana, 



1 



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El Capitan 



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onM 



,\R^^ 



;-:^^ 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS 181 

Lyell, McClure, Qibbe^ Conness, it poured its ma- 
jestic outflowing current full against the end of the 
Hofflnan Range^ which divided and deflected it to 
right and left^ just as a river of water is divided 
against an island in the middle of its channel. 
Two distinct glaciers were thus formed, one of which 
flowed through the great Tuolumne Canon and 
Hetch Hetchy Valley, while the other swept upward 
in a deep current two miles wide across the divide, 
five himdred feet high between the basins of the 
Tuolumne and Merced, into the Tenaya Basin, and 
thence down through the Tenaya Canon and Yo- 
semite. 

The map-like distinctness and freshness of this 
glacial landscape cannot fail to excite the attention 
of every beholder, no matter how little of its scientific 
significance may be recognized. These bald, west- 
ward-leaning rocks, with their rounded backs and 
shoulders toward the glacier fountains of the summit- 
moimtains, and their split, angular fronts looking in 
the opposite direction, explain the tremendous grind- 
ing force with which the ice-flood passed over them, 
and also the direction of its flow. And the mountain 
peaks around the sides of the upper general Tuol- 
umne Basin, with their sharp unglaciated summits 
and polished roimded sides, indicate the height to 
which the glaciers rose; while the nmnerous 
moraines, curving and swaying in beautiful lines. 



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182 THE TOSEMITE 

mark the boundaries of the main trunk and its tribu- 
taries as they existed toward the dose of the glacial 
winter. None of the commercial highways of the 
land or sea, marked with buoys and lamps, fences, 
and guide-boards, is so unmistakably indicated as 
are these broad, shining trails of the vanished Tuol- 
unme Glacier and its far-reaching tributaries. 

I should like now to offer some nearer views of 
a few characteristic specimens of these wonderful old 
iccHstreams, though it is not easy to make a selection 
from so vast a system intimately interblended. 
The main branches of the Merced Glacier are, per- 
haps^ best suited to our purpose, because their basins, 
full of telling inscriptions, are the ones most attract- 
ive and accessible to the Yosemite visitors who like 
to look beyond the valley walls. They number five, 
and may well be called Yosemite glaciers, since they 
were the agents Nature used in developing and fash- 
ioning the grand Valley. The names I have given 
them are, beginning with the northernmost, Yosemite 
Creek, Hoffman, Tenaya, South Lyell, and Uli- 
louette Glaciers. These all converged in admira- 
ble poise aroimd from northeast to southeast, 
welded themselves together into the main Yosemite 
Glacier, which, grinding gradually deeper, swept 
down through the Valley, receiving small tributaries 
on its way from the Indian, Sentinel, and Pohono 
Canons; and at l^igth flowed out of the Valley, 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS 183 

and on down the Range in a general westerly direc- 
tion. At the time that the tributaries mentioned 
above were well defined as to their boundaries, the 
upper portion of the valley walls, and the highest 
rocks about them^ such as the Domes, the uppermost 
of the Three Brothers and the Sentinel, rose above 
the surface of the ice. But during the Valley^s 
earlier history, all its rocks, however lofty, were 
buried beneath a continuous sheet, which swept on 
above and about them like the wind, the upper por- 
tion of the current flowing steadily, while the lower 
portion went mazing and swedging down in the 
crooked and dome-blocked canons toward the head of 
the Valley. 

Every glacier of the Sierra fluctuated in width 
and depth and length, and consequently in degree of 
individuality, down to the latest glacial days. It 
must, therefore, be borne in mind that the following 
description of the Yosemite glaciers applies only to 
their separate condition, and to that phase of their 
separate condition that they presented toward the 
dose of the glacial period after most of their work 
was finished, and all the more telling features of 
the Valley and the adjacent region were brought into 
relief. 

The comparatively level, many-foamtained Yo- 
semite Creek Glacier was about fourteen miles in 
length by four or five in width, and from five hun- 



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184 THE YOSEMITE 

dred to a thousand feet deep. Its principal tribu- 
taries, drawing their sources from the northern spurs 
of the HofiFman Kange, at first pursued a westerly 
course; then, uniting with each other, and a series 
of short affluents from the western rim of the basin, 
the trunk thus formed swept aroimd to the south- 
ward in a magnificent curve, and poured its ice 
over the north wall of Yosemite in cascades about two 
miles wida This broad and comparatively shallow 
glacier formed a sort of crawling, wrinkled ice- 
cloud, that gradually became more regular in shape 
and river-like as it grew older. Encircling peaks 
began to overshadow its highest fountains, rock 
islets rose here and there amid its ebbing currents, and 
its picturesque banks, adorned with domes and 
round-backed ridges, extended in massive grandeur 
down to the brink of the Yosemite walls. 

In the meantime the chief HofiFman tributaries, 
slowly receding to the shelter of the shadows covering 
their fountains, continued to live and work inde- 
pendently, spreading soil, deepening lake-basins and 
giving finishing touches to the sculpture in generaL 
At length these also vanished, and the whole basin 
is now full of light. Forests flourish luxuriantly 
upon its ample moraines, lakes and meadows shine 
and bloom amid its polished domes, and a thousand 
gardens adorn the banks of its streams. 

It is to the great width and even slope of the 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS 185 

Yosemite Creek Glacier that we owe the unrivaled 
hei^t and sheemess of the Yosemite Falls. For had 
the positions of the ice-fountains and the structure 
of the rocks been such as to cause down-thrusting 
concentration of the Glacier as it approached the 
Valley, then, instead of a high vertical fall we should 
have had a long slanting cascade, which after all 
would perhaps have been as beautiful and interest- 
ing, if we only had a mind to see it so. 

The short, comparatively swift-flowing Hoffman 
Glacier, whose fountains extend along the south 
slopes of the Hoffman Range, offered a striking 
contrast to the one just described. The erosive 
energy of the latter was diffused over a wide field 
of sunken, boulder-like domes and ridges. The 
Hoffman Glacier, on the contrary, moved right 
ahead on a comparatively even surface, making a 
descent of nearly five thousand feet in five miles, 
steadily contracting and deepening its current, and 
finally united with the Tenaya Glacier as one of its 
most influential tributaries in the development and 
scidpture of the great Half Dome, North Dome and 
the rocks adjacent to them about the head of the 
Valley. 

The story of its death is not unlike that of its com- 
panion already described, though the declivity of its 
channel, and its uniform exposure to sun-heat pre- 
vented any considerable portion of its current from 



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lae THE YOSEMITE 

becoming torpid, lingering only well up on the moun- 
tain slopes to finish their sculpture and encircle them 
with a zone of moraine soil for forests and gardens. 
Nowhere in all this wonderful region will you find 
more beautiful trees and shrubs and flowers covering 
the traces of ice. 

The rugged Tenaya Glacier wildly crevassed here 
and there above the ridges it had to cross, instead of 
drawing its sources direct from the summit of the 
Kange, formed, as we have seen, one of the outlets 
of the great Tuolumne Glacier, issuing from this 
noble f oomtain like a river from a lake, two miles 
wide, about fourteen miles long, and from 1500 to 
2000 feet deep. 

In leaving the Tuolumne region it crossed over the 
divide, as mentioned above, between the Tuolumne 
and Tenaya basins, making an ascent of five hundred 
f (Bet. Hence, after contracting its wide current and 
receiving a strong affluent from the fountains about 
Cathedral Peak, it poured its massive flood over the 
northeastern rim of its basin in splendid cascades. 
Then, crushing heavily against the Clouds^ Rest 
Kidge, it bore down upon the Yosemite domes with 
concentrated energy. 

Toward the end of the ice period, while its Hoff- 
man companion continued to grind rock-meal for 
coming plants, the main trunk became torpid, and 
vanished, exposing wide areas of rolling rock-waves 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIEKS 187 

and glistening pavements^ on whose channelless sur- 
face water ran wild and free. And because the 
trunk vanished almost simultaneously throughout its 
whole extent, terminal moraines are found in its 
canon channel ; nor, since its walls are, in most places, 
too steeply inclined to admit of the deposition of 
moraine matter, do we find much of the two main 
laterals. The lowest of its residual glaciers lingered 
beneath the shadow of the Yosemite Half Dome; 
others along the base of Coliseum Peak above Lake 
Tenaya and along the precipitous wall extending 
from the lake to the Big Tuolumne Meadows. The 
latter, on account of the uniformity and continuity of 
their protecting shadows, formed moraines of con- 
siderable length and regularity that are liable to be 
mistaken for portions of the left lateral of the 
Tuolumne tributary glacier. 

Spend all the time you can spare or steal on the 
tracks of this grand old glacier, charmed and en- 
chanted by its magnificent canon, lakes and cascades 
and resplendent glacier pavements. 

The Nevada Glacier was longer and more sym- 
metrical than the last, and the only one of the Merced 
system whose sources extended directly back to the 
main summits on the axis of the Bange. Its numer- 
ous fountains were ranged side by side in three 
series, at an elevation of from 10,000 to 12,000 feet 
above the sea. The first, on the right side of the basin^ 



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188 THE YOSEMITE 

extended from the Matterhom to CaUiedral Peak; 
that on the left through the Merced group, and these 
two parallel series were nnited by a third that ex- 
tended around the head of the basin in a direction 
at right angles to the others. 

The three ranges of high peaks and ridges that 
supplied the snow for these fountains, together with 
the Clouds' Best Bidge, nearly inclose a rectangular 
basin, that was filled with a massive sea of ice, leav- 
ing an outlet toward the west through which flowed 
the main trunk glacier, three-fourths of a mile to a 
mile and a half vdde, fifteen miles long, and from 
1000 to 1500 feet deep, and entered Tosemite be- 
tween the Half Dome and Moimt Starr "King. 

Could we have visited Yosemite Valley at this 
period of its history, we should have found its ice 
cascades vastly more glorious than their tiny water 
representatives of the present day. One of the 
grandest of these was formed by that portion of the 
I^evada Glacier that poured over the shoulder of the 
Half Dome. 

This glacier^ as a whole^ resembled an oak, with 
a gnarled swelling base and wide-spreading branches. 
Picturesque rocks of every conceivable form adorned 
its banks, among which glided the numerous tribu- 
taries, mottled with black and red and gray boulders, 
from the foimtain peaks, while ever and anon, as 
the deliberate centuries passed away, dome after 



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ANCIENT TOSEMITE GLACIERS ISff 

dome raised its bumislied crown above the ice-flood 
to enrich the slowly opening landscapes. 

The principal moraines occur in short irregular 
sections along the sides of the canons, their frag- 
mentary condition being due to interruptions caused 
by portions of the sides of the canon walls being too 
steep for moraine matter to lie on, and to down-sweep- 
ing torrents and avalanches. The left lateral of the 
trunk may be traced about five miles from the mouth 
of the first main tributary to the Illilouette Canon. 
The corresponding section of the right lateral, extend- 
ing from Cathedral tributary to the Half Dome, is 
more complete because of the more favorable character 
of the north side of the canon. A short side-glacier 
came in against it from the slopes of Clouds' Best; 
but being fully exposed to the sun, it was melted long 
before the main trunk, allowing the latter to deposit 
this portion of its moraine imdisturbed. Some con- 
ception of the size and appearance of this fine 
moraine may be gained by following the Clouds' 
Rest trail from Tosemite, which crosses it obliquely 
and conducts past several sections made by streams. 
Slate boulders may be seen that must have come from 
the Lyell group, twelve miles distant But the bulk 
of the moraine is composed of porphyritic granite de- 
rived from Feldspar and Cathedral Valleys. 

On the sides of the moraines we find a series of 
terraces, indicating fluctuations in the level of the 



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190 THE TOSEMITE 

glacier, caused by variations of snow-fall, tempera- 
ture, etc., showing that the climate of the glacial 
period was diversified by cycles of milder or stormier 
seasons similar to those of post-glacial time. 

After the depth of the main trunk diminished to 
about five hundred feet, the greater portion became 
torpid, as is shown by the moraines, and lay dying 
in its crooked channel like a woimded snake, main- 
taining for a time a feeble squirming motion in 
places of exceptional depth, or where the bottom of 
the canon was more deeply inclined. The numerous 
fountain-wombs, however, continued fruitful long 
after the trunk had vanished, giving rise to an im- 
posing array of short residual glaciers, extending 
around the rim of the general basin a distance of 
nearly twenty-four miles. Most of these have but 
recently succimibed to the new climate, dying in 
turn as determined by elevation, size, and exposure, 
leaving only a few feeble survivors beneath the cool- 
est shadows, which are now slowly completing the 
sculpture of one of the noblest of the Yosemite 
basins. 

The comparatively shallow glacier that at this time 
filled the lUilouette Basin, though once far from 
shallow, more resembled a lake than a river of ice, 
being nearly half as wide as it was long. Its great- 
est length was about ten miles, and its depth perhaps 
nowhere much exceeded 1000 feet Its chief foun- 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS 191 

tains^ ranged along the west side of the Meroed 
group, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, gave 
birth to fine tributaries that flowed in a westerly 
direction, and united in the center of the basin. The 
broad trunk at first flowed northwestward, then 
curved to the northward, deflected by the lofty wall 
forming its western bank, and finally united with the 
grand Yosemite trunk, opposite Glacier Point. 

All the phenomena relating to glacial action in 
this basin are remarkably simple and orderly, on ac- 
count of the sheltered positions occupied by its ice- 
fountains, with reference to the disturbing effects of 
larger glaciers from the axis of the main Sange 
earlier in the period. From the eastern base of the 
Starr King cone you may obtain a fine view of the 
principal moraines sweeping grandly out into the 
middle of the basin from the shoulders of the peaks, 
between which the ice-fountains lay. The right 
lateral of the tributary, which took its rise between 
Bed and Merced Mountains, measures two hundred 
and fifty feet in height at its upper extremity, and 
displays three well-defined terraces, similar to those 
of the South Lyell Glacier. The comparative 
smoothness of the uppermost terrace shows that it 
is considerably more ancient than the others, many 
of the boulders of which it is composed having 
crumbled. A few miles to the westward, this mo- 
raine has an average slope of twenly-seven degrees, 



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192 THE YOSEMITE 

and an elevation above the bottom of the channel of 
six hundred and sixty feet. !N'ear the middle of the 
main basin, just where the regularly formed medial 
and lateral moraines flatten out and disappear, tiiere 
is a remarkably smooth field of gravel, planted with 
arctostaphylos, that looks at the distance of a mile 
like a delightful meadow. Stream sections show Uie 
gravel deposit to be composed of the same material 
as the moraines, but finer, and more water-worn from 
the action of converging torrents issuing from the 
tributary glaciers after the trunk was melted. The 
southern boundary of the basin is a strikingly per- 
fect wall, gray on the top, and white down the sides 
and at the base with snow, in which many a crystal 
brook takes rise. The northern boimdary is made 
up of smooth undulating masses of gray granite, that 
lift here and there into beautiful domes of which 
the Starr "King cluster is the finest, while on the 
east tower the majestic fountain-peaks with wide 
canons and neve amphitheaters between them, whose 
variegated rocks show out gloriously against the sky. 
The ice-plows of this charming basin, ranged side 
by side in orderly gangs, furrowed the rocks with ad- 
mirable uniformity, producing irrigating channels 
for a brood of wild streams, and abundance of ridi 
soil adapted to every requirement of garden and 
grove. No other section of the Yosemite uplands 



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ANCIENT YOSEMITE GLACIERS 193 

is in so perfect a state of glacial cultivation. Its 
domes, and peaks, and swelling . rock-waves, how- 
ever majestic in themselves, are yet submissively sub- 
ordinate to the garden center. The other basins we 
have been describing are combinations of sculptured 
rocks, embellished with gardens and groves; the 
lUilouette is one grand garden and forest, embel- 
lished with rocks, each of the five beautiful in its 
own way, and all as harmoniously related as are the 
five petals of a flower. After uniting in the To- 
semite Valley, and expending the down-thrusting 
energy derived from their combined weight and the 
declivity of their channels, the grand trunk flowed 
on through and out of the Valley. In effecting its 
exit a considerable ascent was made, traces of which 
may still be seen on the abraded rocks at the lower 
end of the Valley, while the direction pursued after 
leaving the Valley is surely indicated by the im- 
mense lateral moraines extending from the ends of 
the walls at an elevation of from 1500 to 1800 feet 
The right lateral moraine was disturbed by a large 
tributary glacier that occupied the basin of Cascade 
Creek, causing considerable complication in its struc- 
ture. The left is simple in form for several miles of 
its length, or to the point where a tributary came in 
from the southeast But both are greatly obscured 
by the forests and underbrush growing upon them, 



18 



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194 THE YOSEMITE 

and by the denuding action of rains and melting 
snows, etc It is, therefore, the less to be wondered 
at that these moraines, made up of material derived 
from the distant fountain-mountains, and from the 
Valley itself, were not sooner recognized. 

The ancient glacier systems of the Tuolumne, San 
Joaquin, Kern, and Kings Biver Basins were de- 
veloped on a still grander scale and are so replete 
with interest that the most sketchy outline descrip- 
tions of each, with the works they have accomplished, 
would fill many a volume. Therefore I can do 
but little more than invite everybody who is free to 
go and see for himself. 

The action of flowing ice, whether in the form of 
river-like glaciers or broad mantles, especially the 
part it played in sculpturing the earth, is as yet 
but little imderstood. Water rivers work openly 
where people dwell, and so does the rain, and the 
sea, thundering on all the 'shores of the world ; and 
the universal ocean of air, though invisible, speaks 
aloud in a thousand voices, and explains its modes 
of working and its power. But glaciers, back in 
their white solitudes, work apart from men, exerting 
their tremendous energies in silence and darkness. 
Outspread, spirit-like, they brood above the pre- 
destined landscapes, work on imwearied through im- 
measurable ages, xmtil, in the fullness of time, the 
mountains and valleys are brought forth, channels 



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ANCIENT TOSEMITE GLACIERS 195 

furrowed for rivers, basins made for lakes and 
meadows, and arms of the sea, soils spread for forests 
and fields ; then they shrink and vanish like summer 
clouds. 



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xn 

HOW BEST TO SPEND ONE'S YOSEMITE TIME 

ONE-DAY EXCUBSIONS 

No. 1. 

r^ I were so time-poor as to have only one day to 
spend in Yosemite I should start at daybreak, 
say at three o'clock in midsununer, with a pocketful of 
any sort of dry breakfast stuff, for Glacier Point, Sen- 
tinel Dome, the head of Illilouette Fall, Nevada Fall, 
the top of Liberty Cap, Vernal Fall and the wild boul- 
der-choked River Canon. The trail leaves the Valley 
at the base of the Sentinel Rock, and as you slowly 
saunter from point to point along its many acoonmio- 
dating zigzags nearly all the Valley rocks and falls 
are seen in striking, ever-changing combinations. At 
an elevation of about five hundred feet a particularly 
fine, wide-sweeping view down the Valley is ob- 
tained, past the sheer face of the Sentinel and be- 
tween the Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan. At a 
height of about 1500 feet the great Half Dome 
comes full in sight, overshadowing every other 
feature of the Valley to the eastward. From 

Glacier Point you look down 3000 feet over the 

196 



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ONE-DAY EXCURSIONS 197 

edge of its sheer face to the meadows and groves 
and innumerable yellow pine spires, with the me- 
andering river sparkling and spangling through 
the midst of them. Across the Valley a great telling 
view is presented of the Royal Arches, North Dome, 
Indian Canon, Three Brothers and El Capitan, 
with the dome-paved basin of Yosemite Creek 
and Mount Hoffman in the background. To the 
eastward, the Half Dome close beside you looking 
higher and more wonderful than ever; southeastward 
the Starr King, girdled with silver firs, and- the 
spacious garden-like basin of the Illilouette and 
its deeply sculptured fountain-peaks, called " The 
Merced Group''; and beyond all, marshaled along 
the eastern horizon, the icy summits on the axis of 
the Range and broad swaths of forests growing on 
ancient moraines, while the Nevada, Vernal and 
Yosemite Falls are not only full in sight but are dis- 
tinctly heard as if one were standing beside them in 
their spray. 

The views from the sunmiit of Sentinel Dome are 
still more extensive and telling. Eastward the 
crowds of peaks at the head of the Merced, Tuolumne 
and San Joaquin Rivers are presented in bewilder- 
ing array; westward, the vast forests, yellow foot- 
hills and the broad San Joaquin plains and the Coast 
Ranges, hazy and dim in the distance. 

From Glacier Point go down the trail into the 



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198 THE TOSEMITE 

lower end of the niilonette basin, cross lUilonette 
Creek and follow it to the Fall where from an out- 
jutting rock at its head you will get a fine view of its 
rejoicing waters and wild canon and the Half Dome. 
Thence returning to the trail, follow it to the head 
of the Nevada FalL Linger here an hour or two, 
for not only have you glorious views of the wonder- 
ful fall, but of its wild, leaping, exulting rapids and, 
greater than all, the stupendous scenery into the heart 
of which the white passionate river goes wildly 
thundering, surpassing everything of its kind in the 
world. After an unmeasured hour or so of this 
glory, all your body aglow, nerve currents flashing 
through you never before felt, go to the top of the 
Liberty Cap, only a glad saimter now that your 
legs as well as head and heart are awake and rejoic- 
ing with everything. The Liberty Cap, a companion 
of the Half Dome, is sheer and inaccessible on three 
of its sides but on the east a gentle, ice-burnished, 
juniper^otted slope extends to the summit where 
other wonderful views are displayed where all are 
wonderful: the south side and shoulders of Half 
Dome and Clouds' Best, the beautiful Little Yo- 
semite Valley and its many domes, the Starr Xing 
cluster of domes, Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, and, 
perhaps the most tremendously impressive of all, 
the views of the hopper-shaped canon of the river 



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ONE-DAY EXCURSIONS 199 

from the head of the Nevada Fall to the head of the 
VaUey. 

Eetuming to the trail you descend between the 
Nevada Fall and the Liberty Cap with fine side views 
of both the fall and the rock, pass on through clouds 
of spray and along the rapids to the head of the 
Vernal Fall, about a mile below the Nevada. 
Linger here if night is still distant, for views of this 
favorite fall and the stupendous rock scenery about 
it. Then descend a stairway by its side, follow 
a dim trail through its spray, and a plain one along 
the border of the boulder-dashed rapids and so back 
to the wide, tranquil Valley. 

ONE-DAT EXOUBSIONS 

No. 2. 

Another grand one-day excursion is to the Upper 
Yosemite Fall, the top of the highest of the Three 
Brothers, called Eagle Peak on the Geological Sur- 
vey maps ; the brow of El Capitan ; the head of the 
Ribbon Fall; across the beautiful Ribbon Creek 
Basin; and back to the Valley by the Big Oak Flat 
wagon-road. 

The trail leaves the Valley on the east side of the 
largest of the earthquake taluses immediately oppo- 
site the Sentinel Rock and as it passes within a few 



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200 THE YOSEMITE 

rods of the foot of the great fall, magnificent views 
are obtained as you approach it and pass through its 
spray, though when the snow is melting fast you 
will be well drenched. From the foot of the Fall 
the trail zigzags up a narrow canon between the fall 
and a plain mural cliff that is burnished here and 
there by glacial action. 

You should stop a while on a flat iron-fenced rock 
a little below the head of the fall beside the enthusi- 
astic throng of starry comet-like waters to learn some- 
thing of their strength, their marvelous variety of 
forms, and above all, their glorious music, gathered 
and composed from the snow-storms, hail-, rain- and 
wind-storms that have fallen on their glacier-sculp- 
tured, domey, ridgy basin. Refreshed and exhil- 
arated, you follow your trail-way through silver fir 
and pine woods to Eagle Peak, where the most com- 
prehensive of all the views to be had on the north- 
wall heights are displayed. After an hour or two 
of gazing, dreaming, studying the tremendous topog- 
raphy, etc., trace the rim of the Valley to the grand 
El Capitan ridge and go down to its brow, where 
you will gain everlasting impressions of Nature's 
steadfastness and power combined with ineffable fine- 
ness of beauty. 

Dragging yourself away, go to the head of the 
Ribbon Fall) thence across the beautiful Ribbon 
Creek Basin to the Big Oak Flat stage-road, and 



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TWO-DAY EXCURSIONS 201 

down its fine grades to the Valley, enjoying glorious 
Yosemite scenery all the way to the foot of El Capi- 
tan and your camp. 

TWO-DAY EXOUBSIONS 
No. 1. 

For a two-day trip I would go straight to Mount 
Hoffman, spend the night on the summit, next mom* 
ing go down by May Lake to Tenaya Lake and re- 
turn to the Valley by Cloud's Rest and the Nevada 
and Vernal Falls. As on the foregoing excursion, 
you leave the Valley by the Yosemite Falls trail and 
follow it to the Tioga wagon-road, a short distance 
east of Porcupine Flat. From that point push 
straight up to the summit Mount Hoffman is a 
mass of gray granite that rises almost in the center 
of the Yosemite Park, about eight or ten miles in a 
straight line from the Valley. Its southern slopes 
are low and easily climbed, and adorned her© and 
there with castle-like crumbling piles and long 
jagged crests that look like artificial masonry; but 
on the north side it is abruptly precipitous and 
banked with lasting snow. Most of the broad sum- 
mit is comparatively level and thick sown with crys^ 
tals, quartz, mica, hornblende, feldspar, granite, 
zircon, tourmaline, etc, weathered out and strewn 
closely and loosely as if they had been sown broad- 



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202 THE YOSEMITE 

cast. Their radiance is fairly dazzling in stinliglity 
almost hiding the multitude of small flowers that 
grow among thenu At first sight only these radiant 
crystals are likely to be noticed, but looking closely 
you discover a multitude of very small gilias, 
phloxes, mimulus, etc., many of them with more 
petals than leaves. On the borders of little 
streams larger plants flourish — lupines, daisies, 
asters, goldenrods, hairbell, mountain columbine, 
potentilla, astragalus and a few gentians; with 
charming heathworts — bryanthus, cassiope, kalmia, 
vaccinium in boulder-fringing rings or bank covers. 
You saunter among the crystals and flowers as if 
you were walking among stars. From the simmdt 
nearly all the Yosemite Park is displayed like a 
map: forests, lakes, meadows, and snowy peaks. 
Northward lies Yosemite's wide basin with its 
domes and small lakes, shining like larger crystals; 
eastward the rocky, meadowy Tuolumne region, 
bounded by its snowy peaks in glorious array ; south- 
ward Yosemite and westward the vast forest On no 
other Yosemite Park mountain are you more likely to 
linger. You will find it a magnificent sky camp. 
Clumps of dwarf pine and mountain hemlock will 
furnish resin roots and branches for fuel and light, 
and the rills, sparkling water. Thousands of the 
little plant people will gaze at your camp-fire with 
the crystals and stars, companions and guardians 



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TWO-DAY EXCUESIONS 209 

as you lie at rest in the heart of the vast serene 
night. 

The most telling of aU the wide Hoffman views 
is the basin of the Tuolumne with its meadows, for^ 
ests and hundreds of smooth rock-waves that appear 
to be coming rolling on towards you like high heaving 
waves ready to break, and beyond these the great 
moimtains. But best of all are the dawn and the sun- 
rise. No mountain top could be better placed for this 
most glorious of mountain views — to watch and see 
the deepening colors of the dawn and the sunbeams 
streaming through the snowy High Sierra passes, 
awakening the lakes and crystals, the chilled plant 
people and winged people, and making everything 
shine and sing in pure glory. 

With your heart aglow, spangling Lake Tenaya 
and Lake May will beckon you away for walks on 
their ice-burnished shores. Leave Tenaya at the 
west and cross to the south side of the outlet, and 
gradually work your way up in an almost straight 
south direction to the summit of the divide between 
Tenaya Creek and the main upper Merced Biver or 
Nevada Creek and follow the divide to Clouds' 
Rest. After a glorious view from the crest of this 
lofty granite wave you will find a trail on its west- 
em end that will lead you down past Nevada and 
Vernal Falls to the Valley in good time, provided 
you left your Hoffman sky camp early. 



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204 THE YOSEMITE 

TWO-DAY EXOUBSIONS 
No. 2. 

Another grand two-day excursion is the same as 
the first of the one-day tripe^ as far as the head of 
Ulilouette Fall. From there trace the beautiful 
stream up though the heart of its magnificent forests 
and gardens to the canons between the Bed and 
Merced Peaks, and pass the night where I camped 
forty-one years ago. Early next morning visit the 
small glacier on the north side of Merced Peak, the 
first of the sixty-five that I discovered in the Sierra. 

Glacial phenomena in the Ulilouette Basin are 
on the grandest scale, and in the course of my ex- 
plorations I foimd that the canon and moraines be- 
tween the Merced and Bed Mountains were the 
most interesting of them all. The path of the van- 
ished glacier shone in many places as if washed with 
silver, and pushing up the canon on this bright road 
I passed lake after lake in solid basins of granite 
and many a meadow along the canon stream that 
links them together. The main lateral moraines 
that bound the view below the canon are from a 
hundred to nearly two himdred feet high and won- 
derfully regular, like artificial embankments, covered 
with a magnificent growth of silver fir and pine. 
But this garden and forest luxuriance is speedily 



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TWO-DAY EXCURSIONS 206 

left behind^ and patches of bryanthus, cassiope and 
arctic willows begin to appear. The small lakes which 
a few miles down the Valley are so richly bordered 
with flowery meadows have at an elevation of 10,000 
feet only small brown mats of carex, leaving bare 
rocks around more than half their shores. Yet, strange 
to say, amid all this arctic repression the mountain 
pine on ledges and buttresses of Bed Mountain seems 
to find the climate best suited to it Some speci- 
mens that I measured were over a hundred feet high 
and twenty-four feet in circumference, showing 
hardly a trace of severe storms, looking as fresh and 
vigorous as the giants of the lower zones. Evening 
came on just as I got fairly into the main canon. It 
is about a mile wide and a little less than two miles 
long. The crumbling spurs of Red Mountain bound 
it on the north, the somber cliffs of Merced Mountain 
on the south and a deeply'-serrated, splintered ridge 
curving around from mountain to mountain shuts 
it in on the east My camp was on the brink of 
one of the lakes in a thicket of mountain hemlock, 
partly sheltered from the wind. Early next morn- 
ing I set out to trace the ancient glacier to its head. 
Passing around the north shore of my camp lake 
I followed the main stream from one lakelet to an- 
other. The dwarf pines and hemlocks disappeared 
and the stream was bordered with icicles. The main 
lateral moraines that extend from the mouth of the 



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206 THE YOSEMITE 

canon are continued in straggling masses along the 
walls. Tracing the streams back to the highest of 
its little lakes, I noticed a deposit of fine gray mud, 
something like the mud worn from a grindstone. 
This suggested its glacial origin, for the stream that 
was carrying it issued from a raw-looking moraine 
that seemed to be in process of formation. It is 
from sixty to over a hundred feet high in front, with 
a slope of about thirty-eight degrees. Climbing to 
the top of it, I discovered a very small but well- 
characterized glacier swooping down from the 
shadowy cliffs of the mountain to its terminal mo- 
raine. The ice appeared on all the lower portion 
of the glacier; farther up it was covered with snow. 
The uppermost crevasse or " bergeschrund *' was 
from twelve to fourteen feet wide. The melting 
snow and ice formed a network of rills that ran grace- 
fully down the surface of the glacier, merrily sing- 
ing in their shining channels. After this discovery 
I made excursions over all the High Sierra and dis- 
covered that what at first sight looked like snow- 
fields were in great part glaciers which were com- 
pleting the sculpture of the summit peaks. 

Eising early, — which will be easy, as your bed 
will be rather cold and you will not be able to sleep 
much anyhow, — after visiting the glacier, climb the 
Bed Mountain and enjoy the magnificent views from 



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A THKEE-DAY EXCURSION 207 

the STimmit. I counted forty lakes from one stand- 
point on this mountain^ and the views to the west- 
ward over the lUilouette Basin^ the most superbly 
forested of all the basins whose waters drain into Yo- 
semite^ and those of the Yosemite rocks, especially 
the Half Dome and the upper part of the north wall, 
are very fine. But, of course, far the most imposing 
view is the vast array of snowy peaks along the axis 
of the Bange. Then from the top of this peak, light 
and free and exhilarated with moimtain air and 
mountain beauty, you should run lightly down the 
northern slope of the mountain, descend the canon be- 
tween Red and Gray Mountains, thence northward 
along the bases of Gray Mountain and Mount Clark 
and go down into the head of Little Yosemite, and 
thence down past the Nevada and Vernal Falls to 
the Valley, a truly glorious two-day trip I 

A THREE-DAT EXOXJBSION 

The best three-day excursion, as far as I can see, 
is the same as the first of the two-day trips until you 
reach Lake Tenaya. There instead of returning to 
the Valley, follow tie Tioga road around the north- 
west side of the lake, over to the Tuolumne Meadows 
and up to the west base of Mount Dana. Leave the 



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208 THE YOSEMITE 

road there and make straight for the highest point 
on the timber line between Mounts Dana and Gibbe 
and camp thera 

On the morning of the third day go to the top of 
Mount Dana in time for the glory of the dawn and 
the simrise over the gray Mono Desert and the sub- 
lime forest of High Sierra peaks. -When you leave 
the mountain go far enough down the north side for 
a view of the Dana Glacier, then make your way 
back to the Tioga road, follow it along the Tuolumne 
Meadows to the crossing of Budd Creek where you 
will find the Sunrise trail branching off up tiie 
mountain-side through the forest in a southwesterly 
direction past the west side of Cathedral Peak, which 
will lead you down to the Valley by the Vernal and 
Nevada FaUs. . K you are a good walker you can 
leave the trail where it begins to descend a steep 
slope in the silver fir woods, and bear off to the rig|ht 
and make straight for the top of Clouds* Best The 
walking is good and almost level and from the west 
end of Clouds' Best take the Clouds' Best trail 
which will lead direct to the Valley by the Nevada 
and Vernal Falls. To any one not desperately time- 
poor this trip should have four days instead of three ; 
camping the second night at the Soda Springs; 
thence to Mount Dana and return to the Soda 
Springs, caipiping the third night there; thence by 
the Sunrise trail to Cathedral Peak, visiting the 



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A«TOR. If 
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UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 20ft 

beautiful Cathedral lake which lies about a mile to 
the west of Cathedral Peak, eating your luncheon, 
and thence to Clouds' Rest and the Valley as above. 
This is one of the most interesting of all the com- 
paratively short trips that can be made in the whole 
Yosemite region. Not only do you see all the 
grandest of the Yosemite rocks and waterfalls and 
the High Sierra with their glaciers, glacier lakes 
and glacier meadows, etc, but sections of the mag- 
nificent silver fir, two-leaved pine, and dwarf pine 
zones; with the principal alpine flowers and shrubs, 
especially sods of dwarf vaccinium covered with 
flowers and fruit though less than an inch high, 
broad mats of dwarf willow scarce an inch high 
with catkins that rise straight from the ground, and 
glorious beds of blue gentians, — grandeur enough 
and beauty enough for a lifetime. 

THE UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 

We come now to the grandest of all the Yosemite 
excursions, one that requires at least two or three 
weeks. The best time to make it is from about the 
middle of July. The visitor entering the Yosemite 
in July has the advantage of seeing the falls not, per- 
haps, in their very flood prime but next thing to it ; 
while the glacier-meadows will be in their glory and 

14 



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210 THE YOSEMITE 

the snow on the mountains will be firm enough to 
make climbing safe. Long ago I made these Sierra 
trips, carrying only a sackful of bread with a little 
tea and sugar and was thus independent and free, but 
now that trails or carriage roads lead out of the Val- 
ley in almost every direction it is easy to take a pack 
animal, so that the luxury of a blanket and a supply 
of food can easily be had. 

The best way to leave the Valley will be by the 
Yosemite Fall trail, camping the first night on the 
Tioga road opposite the east end of the Hoffman 
Bange. Next morning dimb Mount Hoffman; 
thence push on past Tenaya Lake into the Tuolumne 
Meadows and establish a central camp near the Soda 
Springs, from which glorious excursions can be made 
at your leisure. For here in this upper Tuolumne 
Valley is the widest, smoothest, most serenely spa- 
cious, and in every way the most delightful summer 
pleasure-park in all the High Sierra. And since it 
is connected with Yosemite by two good trails, and a 
fairly good carriage road that passes between Yo- 
semite and Mount Hoffman,, it is also the most ac- 
cessible. It is in the heart of the High Sierra east 
of Yosemite, 8500 to 9000 feet above the level of the 
sea. The gray, picturesque Cathedral Range bounds 
it on the south ; a similar range or spur, the highest 
peak of which is Mount Conness, on the north ; the 
noble Mounts Dana, Gibbs, Mammoth, Lyell, Mo- 



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UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 211 

dure and others on the axis of the Range on the east ; 
a heaving, billowy crowd of glacier-polished rocks and 
Mount Hoffman on the west. Down through the 
open sunny meadow-levels of the Valley flows the 
Tuolumne River, fresh and cool from its many gla- 
cial fountains, the highest of which are the glaciers 
that lie on tiie north sides of Mount Lyell and Mount 
McClure. 

Along the river a series of beautiful glacier- 
meadows extend with but little interruption, from 
the lower end of the Valley to its head, a distance of 
about twelve miles, forming charming sauntering- 
grounds from which the glorious mountains may be 
enjoyed as they look down in divine serenity over 
the dark forests that clothe their bases. Narrow 
strips of pine woods cross the meadow-carpet from 
side to side, and it is somewhat roughened here and 
there by moraine boulders and dead trees brought 
down from the heights by snow avalanches; but for 
miles and miles it is so smooth and level that a hun- 
dred horsemen may ride abreast over it. 

The main lower portion of the meadows is about 
four miles long and from a quarter to half a mile 
wide; but the width of the Valley is, on an average, 
about eight miles. Tracing the river, we find that it 
forks a mile above the Soda Springs, the main fork 
turning southward to Mount Lyell, the other east- 
ward to Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs. Along both 



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212 THE YOSEMITE 

forks strips of meadow extend almost to their heads. 
The most beautiful portions of the meadows are 
spread over lake basins^ which have been filled up by 
deposits from the river, A few of tiese river-lakes 
still exist, but they are now shallow and are rapidly 
approaching extinction. The sod in most places is 
exceedingly fine and silky and free from weeds and 
bushes; while charming flowers abound, especially 
gentians, dwarf daisies, potentillas, and the pink bells 
of dwarf vaccinium. On the banks of the river and 
its tributaries cassiope and bryanthus may be found, 
where the sod curls over stream banks and around 
boulders. The principal grass of these meadows is 
a delicate calamagrostis with very slender filiform 
leaves, and when it is in flower the ground seems to be 
covered with a faint purple mist, the stems of the 
panicles being so fine that they are almost invisible, 
and offer no appreciable resistance in walking 
through them. Along the edges of the meadows be- 
neath . the pines and throughout the greater part of 
the Valley tall ribbon-leaved grasses grow in abun- 
dance, chiefly bromus, triticum and agrostis. 

In October the nights are frosty, and then the 
meadows at sunrise, when every leaf is laden with 
crystals, are a fine sight The days are still warm 
and calm, and bees and butterflies continue to waver 
and hum about the late-blooming flowers until the 
coming of the snow, usually in November. Storm 



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UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 213 

then follows storm in quick succession, burying the 
meadows to a depth of from ten to twenty feet, while 
magnificent avalanches descend through the forests 
from the laden heights, depositing huge piles of snow 
mixed with uprooted trees and boulders. In the open 
sunshine the snow usually lasts until the end of June 
but the new season's vegetation is not generally in 
bloom until late in July. Perhaps the best all 
round excursion-time after winters of average snow- 
fall is from the middle of July to the middle or end 
of August The snow is then melted from the woods 
and southern slopes of the mountains and the 
meadows and gardens are in their glory, while the 
weather is mostly all-reviving, exhilarating sunshine. 
The few clouds that rise now and then and the 
showers they yield 'ar6;.pily enough to keep every- 
thing fresh and f fagrant. 

The groves about the Soda Springs are favorite 
camping-grounds on account of the cold, pleasant- 
tasting water charged with carbonic acid, and because 
of the views of the mountains across the meadow — 
the Glacier Monument, Cathedral Peak, Cathedral 
Spires, Unicom Peak and a series of ornamental 
nameless companions, rising in striking forms and 
nearness above a dense forest growing on the left 
lateral moraine of the ancient Tuolumne Glacier, 
which, broad, deep, and far-reaching, exerted vast in- 
fluence on the scenery of this portion of the Sierra. 



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214 THE YOSEMITE 

But there are fine camping-grounds all along the 
meadows, and one may move from grove to grove 
every day all summer, enjoying new homes and new 
beauty to satisfy every roving desire for change. 

There are five main capital excursions to be made 
from here — to the summits of Mounts Dana, Lyell 
and Conness, and through the Bloody Canon Pass 
to Mono Lake and the volcanoes, and down the 
Tuolumne Canon, at least as far as the foot of the 
wonderful series of river cataracts. All of these ex- 
cursions are sure to be made memorable with joyful 
health-giving experiences ; but perhaps none of them 
will be remembered with keener delight than the days 
spent in sauntering on the broad velvet lawns by the 
river, sharing the sky with the mountains and trees, 
gaining something of their strength and peace. 

The excursion to the top of Mount Dana is a very 
easy one; for though the mountain is 13,000 feet 
high, the ascent from the west side is so gentle and 
smooth that one may ride a mule to the very summit 
Across many a busy stream, from meadow to meadow, 
lies your flowery way ; mountains all about you, few 
of them hidden by irregular foregrounds. Gradually 
ascending, other mountains come in sight, peak rising 
above peak with their snow and ice in endless variety 
of grouping and sculpture. Now your attention is 
turned to the moraines, sweeping in beautiful curves 
from the hollows and canons^ now to the granite waves 



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UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 215 

and pavements rising here and there above the heathy 
sod, polished a thousand years ago and still shining. 
Towards the base of the mountain you note the dwarf- 
ing of the trees, until at a height of about 11,000 
feet you find patches of the tough, white-barked pine, 
pressed so flat by the ten or twenty feet of snow 
piled upon them every winter for centuries that you 
may walk over them as if walking on a shaggy rug. 
And, if curious about such things, you may discover 
specimens of this hardy tree-mountaineer not more 
than four feet high and about as many inches in diam- 
eter at the groimd, that are from two hundred to 
four hundred years old, still holding bravely to life, 
making the most of their slender summers, shaking 
their tasseled needles in the breeze right cheerily, 
drinking the thin sunshine and maturing their fine 
purple cones as if they meant to live forever. The 
general view from the summit is one of the most ex- 
tensive and sublime to be found in all the Range. 
To the eastward you gaze far out over the desert 
plains and mountains of the " Great Basin,'' range 
beyond range extending with soft outlines, blue and 
purple in the distance. More than six thousand feet 
below you lies Lake Mono, ten miles in diameter from 
north to south, and fourteen from west to east, lying 
bare in the treeless desert like a disk of burnished 
metal, though at times it is swept by mountain storm- 
winds and streaked with foam. To the southward 



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216 THE TOSEMITE 

there is a well-defined range of pale-gray extinct vol- 
canoes^ and though the highest of them rises nearly 
two thousand feet above the lake, you can look down 
from here into their circular, cup-like craters, from 
which a comparatively short time ago ashes and 
cinders were showered over the surrounding sage 
plains and glacier-laden mountains. 

To the westward the landscape is made up of ex- 
ceedingly strong, gray, glaciated domes and ridge 
waves, most of them comparatively low, but the 
largest high enough to be called mountains ; separated 
by canons and darkened with lines and fields of 
forest. Cathedral Peak and Mount Hoffman in the 
distance; small lakes and innumerable meadows in 
the foreground. Northward and southward the 
great snowy mountains, marshaled along the axis of 
the Range, are seen in all their glory, crowded to- 
gether in some places like trees in groves, making 
landscapes of wild, extravagant, bewildering magnifi- 
cence, yet calm and silent as the sky. 

Some eight glaciers are in sight One of these is 
the Dana Glacier on the north sij^e of the mountain, 
lying at the foot of a precipice about a thousand feet 
high, with a lovely pale-green lake a little below it 
This is one of the many, small, shrunken remnants 
of the vast glacial system of the Sierra that once 
filled the hollows and valleys of the mountains and 
covered all the lower ridges below the immediate sum- 



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UPPER TUOLUMKE EXCURSION 217 

mit-fountains, flowing to right and left away from the 
axis of the Range, lavishly fed by the snows of the 
glacial period. 

In the excursion to Mount Lyell the immediate 
base of the moimtain is easily reached on meadow 
walks along the river. Turning to the southward 
above the forks of the river, you enter the narrow 
Lyell branch of the Valley, narrow enough and deep 
enough to be called a canon. It is about eight miles 
long and from 2000 to 3000 feet deep. The flat 
meadow bottom is from about three hundred to two 
hundred yards wide, with gently curved margins 
about fifty yards wide from which rise the simple 
massive walls of gray granite at an angle of about 
thirty-three degrees, mostly timbered with a light 
growth of pine and streaked in many places with 
avalanche channels. Towards the upper end of the 
canon the Sierra crown comes in sight, forming a 
finely balanced picture framed by the massive canon 
walls. In the foreground, when the grass is in 
flower, you have the purple meadow willow-thickets 
on the river banks ; in the middle distance huge swell- 
ing bosses of granite that form the base of the gen- 
eral mass of the mountain, with fringing lines of 
dark woods marking the lower curves, smoothly snow- 
dad except in the autumn. 

If you wish to spend two days on the Lyell trip 
you will find a good camp-ground on the east side of 



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218 THE YOSEMITE 

the river, about a mile above a fine cascade that comes 
down over the canon wall in telling style and makes 
good camp music From here to the top of the 
mountains is usually an easy day's work. At one 
place near the sununit careful climbing is neces- 
sary, but it is not so dangerous or difficult as to deter 
any one of ordinary skill, while the views are glori- 
ous. To the northward are Mammoth Mountain, 
Mounts Gibbs, Dana, Warren, Conness and others, 
unnumbered and unnamed; to the southeast the in- 
describably wild and jagged range of Mount Hitter 
and the Minarets ; southwestward stretches the divid- 
ing ridge between the north fork of the San Joaquin 
and the Merced, uniting with the Obelisk or Merced 
group of peaks that form the main fountains of the 
lUilouette branch of the Merced; and to the north- 
westward extends the Cathedral spur. These spurs 
like distinct ranges meet at your feet ; therefore you 
look them mostly in the direction of their extension, 
and their peaks seem to be massed and crowded 
against one another, while immense amphitheaters, 
canons and subordinate ridges with their wealth of 
lakes, glaciers, and snow-fields, maze and cluster be- 
tween them. In making the ascent in June or Oc- 
tober the glacier is easily crossed, for then its snow 
mantle is smooth or mostly melted oflF. But in mid- 
summer the climbing is exceedingly tedious because 
the snow is then weathered into curious and beautiful 



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UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 219 

blades, sharp and slender^ and set on edge in a lean- 
ing position. They lean towards the head of the 
glacier and extend across from side to side in regular 
order in a direction at right angles to the direction 
of greatest declivity, the distance between the crests 
being about two or three feet, and the depth of the 
troughs between them about three feet. A more in- 
teresting problem than a walk over a glacier thus 
sculptured and adorned is seldom presented to the 
mountaineer. 

The Lyell Glacier is about a mile wide and less 
than a mile long, but presents, nevertheless, all the 
essential characters of large, river-like glaciers — 
moraines, earth-bands, blue veins, crevasses, etc., 
while the streams that issue from it are, of course, 
turbid with rock-mud, showing its grinding action 
on its bed. And it is all the more interesting since 
it is the highest and most enduring remnant of the 
great Tuolumne Glacier, whose traces are still dis- 
tinct fifty miles away, and whose influence on the 
landscape was so profound. The McClure Glacier, 
once a tributary of the Lyell, is smaller. Thirty- 
eight years ago I set a series of stakes in it to deter- 
mine its rate of n^otion. Towards the end of sum- 
mer in the middle of the glacier it was only a little 
over an inch in twenty-four hours. 

The trip to Mono from the Soda Springs can be 
made in a day, but many days may profitably be 



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220 THE YOSEMITE 

spent near the shores of the lake, out on its islands 
and about the volcanoes. 

In making the trip down the Big Tuolumne Canon, 
animals may be led as far as a small, grassy, forested 
lake-basin that lies below the crossing of the Virginia 
Creek traiL And from this point any one accustomed 
to walking on earthquake boulders, carpeted with 
canon chaparral, can easily go down as far as the 
big cascades and return to camp in one day. Many, 
however, are not able to do this, and it is better to 
go leisurely, prepared to camp anywhere, and enjoy 
the marvelous grandeur of the place. 

The canon b^ns near the lower end of the 
meadows and extends to the Hetch Hetchy Valley, 
a distai^iee of about eigbteen miles, though it will 
seem Hiudi'-longer to any one who scrambles through 
it It is from twelve hundred to about five thousand 
feet deepi and fe QompiEiratively narrow, but there are 
several roomy, park-like openings in it, and throu^- 
out its whole extent Yosemite features are displayed 
on a grand scale — domes. El Capitan rocks, gables, 
Sentinels, Koyal Arches, Glacier Points, Cathedral 
Spires, etc There is even a Half Dome among its 
wealth of rock forms, though far less sublime than 
the Yosemite Half Dome. Its falls and cascades are 
innumerable. The sheer falls, except when the snow 
is melting in early spring, are quite small in volume 
as compared with those of Yosemite and Hetdi 



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UPPER TUOLUMNE EXCURSION 221 

Hetchy; though in any other country many of them 
would be regarded as wonders. But it is the cascades 
or sloping falls on the main river that are the crown- 
ing glory of the canon^ and these in volume, extent 
and variety surpass those of any other canon in the 
Sierra. The most showy and interesting of them are 
mostly in the upper part of the canon, above the point 
of entrance of Cathedral Creek and Hoffman Creek. 
For miles the river is one wild, exulting, on-rushing 
mass of snowy purple bloom, spreading over glacial 
waves of granite without any definite channel, gliding 
in magnificent silver plumes, dashing and foaming 
through huge boulder-dams, leaping high into the air 
in wheel-like whirls^ . displaying glorious enthusiasm, 
tossing from side to side, doubling, glinting, singing 
in exuberance of mountain energy. 

Every one who is anything of a mountaineer 
should go on through the entire length of the canon, 
coming out by Hetch Hetchy. There is not a dull 
step all the way. With wide variations, it is a Yo- 
semite Valley from end to end. 

Besides these main, far-reaching, much-seeing ex- 
cursions from the main central camp, there are num- 
berless, lovely little saunters and scrambles and a 
dozen or so not so very little. Among the best of 
these are to Lambert and Fair View Domes; to the 
topmost spires of Cathedral Peak, and to those of the 
North Church, around the base of which you pass 



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222 THE TOSEMITE 

on your way to Mount Conness; to one of the very 
loveliest of the glacier meadows imbedded in the 
pine woods about three miles north of the Soda 
Springs, where forty-two years ago I spent six weeks. 
It trends east and west, and you can find it easily by 
going past the base of Lambert's Dome to Dog Lake 
and thence up northward through the woods about a 
mile or so, to the shining rock-waves full of ice- 
burnished, feldspar crystals at the foot of the 
meadows ; to Lake Tenaya ; and, last but not least, a 
rather long and very hearty scramble down by the end 
of the meadow along the Tioga road toward Lake 
Tenaya to the crossing of Cathedral Creek, where you 
turn off and trace the creek down to its confluence with 
the Tuolumne. This is a genuine scramble much of 
the way but one of the most wonderfully telling in its 
glacial rock-forms and inscriptions. 

If you stop and fish at every tempting lake and 
stream you come to, a whole month, or even two' 
months, will not be too long for this grand High 
Sierra excursion. My own Sierra trip was ten years 
long. 

OTHER TRIPS FROM THE VALLEY 



Short carriage trips are usually made in the 
early morning to Mirror Lake to see its wonderful 
reflections of the Half Dome and Mount Watkins; 



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OTHER TRIPS 228 

and in the afternoon many ride down the Valley 
to see the Bridal VeU rainbows or up the river 
canon to see those of the Vernal Fall; where, stand- 
ing in the spray, not minding getting drenched, you 
may see what are called round rainbows, when the 
two ends of the ordinary bow are lengthened and 
meet at your feet, forming a complete circle which 
is broken and united again and again as determined 
by the varying wafts of spray. A few ambitious 
scramblers climb to the top of the Sentinel Rock, 
others walk or ride down the Valley and up to the 
once-famous Inspiration Point for a last grand view ; 
while a good many appreciative tourists, who have 
only a day or two, do no climbing or riding but spend 
their time sauntering on the meadows by the river, 
watching the falls, and the play of light and shade 
among the rocks from morning to night, perhaps 
gaining more than those who make haste up the trails 
in large noisy parties. Those who have unlimited 
time find something worth while all the year round 
on every accessible part of the vast, deeply sculp- 
tured walls. At least so I have found it after making 
the Valley my home for years. 

Here are a few specimens of a few of my own 
short trips which walkers may find useful. 

One, up the river canon, across the bridge between 
the Vernal and Nevada Falls, through chaparral beds 
and boulders to the shoulder of Half Dome, along the 



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224 THE YOSEMITE 

top of the shoulder to the dome itself, down by a 
crumbling slot gully and close along the base of the 
tremendous split front (the most awfully impressive, 
sheer, precipice view I ever found in all my canon 
wanderings), thence up the east shoulder and along 
the ridge to Clouds^ Rest — a glorious sunset — 
then a grand starry run back home to my cabin ; down 
through the junipers, down through the firs, now in 
black shadows, now in white light, past roaring 
Nevada and Vernal, glowering ghost-like beneath 
their huge frowning cliffs; down the dark, gloomy 
canon, through the pines of the Valley, dreamily 
murmuring in their calm, breezy sleep — a fine 
wild little excursion for good legs and good eyes — 
so much sun-, moon- and star-shine in it, and sub- 
lime, up-and-down rhythmical, glacial topography. 

Another, to the head of Yosemite Fall by Indian 
Canon ; thence up the Yosemite Creek, tracing it all 
the way to its highest sources back of Mount Hoff- 
man, then a wide sweep around the head of its dome- 
paved basin, passing its many little lakes and bogs, 
gardens and groves, trilling, warbling rills, and back 
by the Fall Canon. This was one of my Sabbath 
walk, run-and-slide excursions long ago before any 
trail had been made on the north side of the Valley. 

Another fine trip was up, bright and early, by 
Avalanche Canon to Glacier Point along the rugged 
south wall, tracing all its far outs and ins to the 



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OTHER TRIPS 225 

head of the Bridal Veil Fall, thence back homey 
bright and late, by a brushy, bonldery slope between 
Cathedral rocks and Cathedral spires and along the 
level Valley floor. This was one of my long, bright- 
day and bright-night walks thirty or forty years ago 
when, like river and ocean currents, time flowed un- 
divided, uncounted — a fine free, sauntery, scrambly, 
botanical, beauty-filled ramble. The walk up the 
Valley was made glorious by the marvelous bright- 
ness of the morning star. So great was her light, 
she made every tree cast a well-defined shadow on 
the smooth sandy ground. 

Everybody who visits Yosemite wants to see the 
famous Big Trees. Before the railroad was con- 
structed, all three of the stage^roads that entered the 
Valley passed through a grove of these trees by the 
way; namely, fhe Tuolumne, Merced and Mariposa 
groves. The Tuolumne grove was passed on the 
Big Oak Flat road, the Merced grove by the Coulter- 
ville road and the Mariposa grove by the Raymond 
and Wawona road. Now, to see any one of these 
groves, a special trip has to be made. Most visitors 
go to the Mariposa grove, the largest of the three. 
On this Sequoia trip you see not only the giant Big 
Trees but magnificent forests of silver fir, sugar pine, 
yellow pine, libocedrus and Douglas spruce. The 
trip need not require more than two days, spending a 
night in a good hotel at Wawona, a beautiful place 

16 



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226 THE TOSEMITE 

on the Bouth fork of the Merced Biver, and retnming 
to the Valley or to El Portal, the terminus of the rail- 
road. This extra trip by stage costs fifteen dollars. 
All the High Sierra excursions that I have sketched 
cost from a dollar a week to anything you like. None 
of mine when I was exploring the Sierra cost over a 
dollar a week, most of them less. 



EABLY HISTORY OF THE VALLEY 

In the wild gold years of 1849 and '50, the Indian 
tribes along the western Sierra foothills became 
alarmed at the sudden invasion of their aoom orchard 
and game fields by miners, and soon began to make 
war upon them, in their usual murdering, plundering 
style. This continued until the United States In- 
dian Commissioners succeeded in gathering them 
into reservations, some peacefully, others by burning 
their villages and stores of food. The Tosemite or 
Grizzly Bear tribe, fancying themselves Secure in 
their deep mountain stronghold, were the most 
troublesome and defiant of all, and it was while the 
Mariposa battalion, under command of Major Sav- 
age, was trying to capture this warlike tribe and 
conduct them to the Eresno reservation that this deep 
mountain home, the Tosemite Valley, was discovered. 
From a camp on the south fork of the Merced, Major 



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EAKLY HISTOET 227 

Savage sent Indian runners to the bands who were 
supposed to be hiding in the mountains, instructing 
them to tell the Indians that if they would come in 
and make treaty with the Commissioners they would 
be furnished with food and clothing and be pro- 
tected, but if they did not come in he would make war 
upon them and kill them all. None of the Tosemite 
Indians responded to this general message, but when 
a special messenger was sent to the chief he appeared 
the next day. He came entirely alone and stood in 
dignified silence before one of the guards until in- 
vited to enter the camp. He was recognized by one 
of the friendly Indians as Tenaya, the old chief of 
the Grizzlies, and, after he had been supplied with 
food. Major Savage, with the aid of Indian interpre- 
ters, informed him of the wishes of the Commission- 
ers. But the old chief was very suspicious of Savage 
and feared that he was taking this method of getting 
the tribe into his power for the purpose of revenging 
his personal wrong. Savage told him if he would go 
to the Commissioners and make peace with them as 
the other tribes had done there would be no more war. 
Tenaya inquired what was the object of taking all 
the Indians to the San Joaquin plain. "My peo- 
ple," said he, " do not want anything from the Great 
Father you tell me about. The Great Spirit is our 
father and he has always supplied us with all we 
need. We do not want anything from white men. 



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. 228 THE TOSEMITE 

Our women are able to do our work. Go, theiu 
Let us remain in the mountains where we were bom, 
where the ashes of our fathers have been given to the 
wind. I have said enough." 

To this the Major answered abruptly in Indian 
style : " If you and your people have all you desire, 
why do you steal our horses and mules? Why do 
you rob the miners' camps? Why do you murder 
the white men and plunder and bum their houses ? " 

Tenaya was silent for some time. He evidently 
understood what the Major had said, for he replied, 
" My young men have sometimecT taken horses and 
mules from the whites. This was wrong. It is 
not wrong to take the property of imemies who have 
wronged my people. My young men believed that 
the gold diggers were our enemies. We now know 
they are not and we shall be glad to live in peace 
with them. We will stay here and be friends. My 
people do not want to go to the plains. Some of the 
tribes who have gone there are very bad. We cannot 
live with them. Here we can defend ourselves." 

To this Major Savage firmly said, " Tour people 
must go to the Conmiissioners. If they do not your 
young men will again steal horses and kill and 
plunder the whites. It was your people who robbed 
my stores, burned my houses and murdered my men. 
If they do not make a treaty, your whole tribe will be 
destroyed. Not one of them will be left alive." 



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THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



TlLl>£N FO0M>A"nONS. 



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p. 

EH 



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EAKLT HISTORY 229 

To this the old chief replied, "It is nselegs to 
talk to you about who destroyed your property and 
killed your people. I am old and you can kill me if 
you will, but it is useless to lie to you who know 
more than all the Indians* Therefore I will not lie 
to you but if you will let me return to my people I 
will bring them in." He was allowed to go. The 
next day he came back and said his people were 
on the way to our camp to go with the men sent by 
the Great Father, who was so good and rich. 

Another day passed but no Indians from the deep 
Valley appeared. The old chief said that the snow 
was so deep and his village was so far down that it 
took a long time to climb out of it After waiting 
still another day the expedition started for the Val- 
ley. When Tenaya was questioned as to the route 
and distance he said that the snow was so deep that 
the horses could not go through it Old Tenaya was 
taken along as guide. When the party had gone 
about half-way to the Valley they met the Tosemites 
on their way to the camp on the south fork. There 
were only seventy-two of them and when the old chief 
was asked what had become of the rest of his band, 
he replied, " This is all of my people that are will- 
ing to go with me to the plains. All the rest have 
gone with their wives and children over the moun- 
tains to the Mono and Tuolumne tribes." Savage 
told Tenaya that he was not telling the truth, for In- 



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230 THE TOSEMITE 

dians could not cross the mountains in the deep snow, 
and that he knew they must still be at his village 
or hiding somewhere near it. The tribe had been 
estimated to number over two hundred. Major 
Savage then said to him, " You may return to camp 
with your people and I will take one of your young 
men with me to your village to see your people who 
will not come. They will come if I find them.*' 
" You will not find any of my people there," said 
Tenaya ; " I do not know where they are. My tribe 
is smalL Many of the people of my tribe have come 
from other tribes and if they go to the plains and 
are seen they will be killed by the friends of those 
with whom they have quarreled. I was told that I 
was growing old and it was well that I should go, 
but that young and strong men can find plenty in the 
mountains : therefore, why should they go to the hot 
plains to be penned up like horses and cattle? My 
heart has been sore since that talk but I am now will- 
ing to go, for it is best for my people." 

Pushing ahead, taking turns in breaking a way 
through the snow, they arrived in sight of the great 
Valley early in the afternoon and, guided by one of 
Tenaya^s Indians, descended by the same route as 
that followed by the Mariposa trail, and the weary 
party went into camp on the river bank opposite El 
Capitan. After supper, seated around a big fire, the 
wonderful Valley became the topic of conversation 



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EAELY HISTOEY 231 

and Dp. Bunell suggested giving it a name. Many 
were proposed^ but after a vote had been taken the 
name Tosemite, proposed by Dr. Bunell, was adopted 
almost unanimously to perpetuate the name of the 
tribe who so long had made their home there. The 
Indian name of the Valley, however, is Ahwahnee. 
The Indians had names for all the different rocks 
and streams of the Valley, but very few of them are 
now in use by the whites, Pohono, the Bridal Veil, 
being the principal one. The expedition remained 
only one day and two nights in the Valley, hurrying 
out on the approach of a storm and reached the south- 
fork headquarters on the evening of the third day 
after starting out. Thus, in three days the round 
trip had been made to the Valley, most of it had been 
explored in a general way and some of its principal 
features had been named. But the Indians had fled 
up the Tenaya Canon trail and none of them were 
seen, except an old woman unable to follow the 
fugitives. 

A second expedition was made in the same year 
under command of Major Boling. When the Val- 
ley was entered no Indians were seen, but the many 
wigwams with smoldering fires showed that they 
had been hurriedly abandoned that very day. Later, 
five young Indians who had been left to watch the 
movements of the expedition were captured at the 
foot of the Three Brothers after a lively chase. 



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232 THE YOSEMITE 

Three of the five were sons of the old chief and the 
rock was named for them. All of these captives 
made good their escape within a few days, except 
the youngest son of Tenaya, who was shot by his 
guard while trying to escape. That same day the old 
chief was captured on the cliff on the east side of 
Indian Canon by some of Boling's scouts. As 
Tenaya walked toward the camp his eye fell upon 
the dead body of his favorite son. Captain Boling 
through an interpreter, expressed his regret at the 
occurrence, but not a word did Tenaya utter in reply. 
Later, he made an attempt to escape but was caught 
as he was about to swim across the river. Tenaya 
expected to be shot for this attempt and when brought 
into the presence of Captain Boling he said in great 
emotion, " Kill me, Sir Captain, yes, kill me as you 
killed my son, as you would kill my people if they 
were to come to you. You would kill all my tribe 
if you had the power. Yes, Sir America, you can 
now tell your warriors to kill the old chief. You 
have made my life dark with sorrow. You killed 
the child of my heart Why not kill the father? 
But wait a little and when I am dead I will call 
my people to come and they shall hear me in their 
sleep and come to avenge the death of their chief 
and his son. Yes, Sir America, my spirit will make 
trouble for you and your people, as you have made 
trouble to me and my people. With the wizards I 



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EARLY HISTORY 233 

will follow the white people and make them fear me. 
You may kill me, Sir Captain, but you shall not live 
in peace. I will follow in your footsteps. I will 
not leave my home, but be with the spirits among 
the rocks, the waterfalls, in the rivers and in the 
winds; wherever you go I will be with you. You 
will not see me but you will fear the spirit of the old 
chief and grow cold. The Great Spirit has spoken. 
I am done." 

This expedition finally captured the remnants of 
the tribes at the head of Lake Tenaya and took them 
to the Fresno reservation, together with their chief, 
Tenaya. But after a short stay they were allowed 
to return to the Valley imder restrictions. Tenaya 
promised faithfully to conform to everything re- 
quired, joyfully left the hot and dry reservation, and 
with his family returned to his Yosemite home. 

The following year a party of miners was at- 
tacked by the Lidians in the Valley and two of them 
were killed. This led to another Yosemite expedi- 
tion. A detachment of regular soldiers from Fort 
Miller under Lieutenant Moore, U. S. A., was at once 
dispatched to capture or punish the murderers. Lieu- 
tenant Moore entered the Valley in the night and 
surprised and captured a party of five Indians, but 
an alarm was given and Tenaya and his people fled 
from their huts and escaped to the Monos on the east 
side of the Range. On examination of the five pris- 



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284 THE YOSEMITE 

oners in the morning it was discovered that each of 
them had some article of clothing that belonged to the 
murdered men. The bodies of the two miners were 
found and buried on the edge of the Bridal Veil 
meadow. When the captives were accused of the 
murder of the two white men they admitted that they 
had killed them to prevent white men from coming 
to their Valley, declaring that it was their home and 
that white men had no right to come there without 
their consent. Lieutenant Moore told them through 
his interpreter that they had sold their lands to the 
(Jovemment, that it belonged to the white men now, 
and that they had agreed to live on the reservation 
provided for them. To this they replied that Tenaya 
had never consented to the sale of their Valley and 
had never received pay for it. The other chief, they 
said, had no right to sell their territory. The lieu- 
tenant being fully satisfied that he had captured the 
real murderers, promptly pronounced judgment and 
had them placed in line and shot. Lieutenant Moore 
pursued the fugitives to Mono but was not successful 
in finding any of them. After being hospitably en- 
tertained and protected by the Mono and Paute tribes, 
they stole a number of stolen horses from their enters 
tainers and made their way by a long, obscure route 
by the head of the north fork of the San Joaquin, 
reached their Tosemite home once more, but early 
one morning, after a feast of horse-flesh, a band of 



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EARLY HISTORY 235 

Monos surprised them in their huts, killing Tenaya 
and nearly all his tribe. Only a small remnant es- 
caped down the river canon. The Tenaya Canon 
and Lake were named for the famous old chief. 

Very few visits were made to the Valley before 
the summer of 1865^ when Mr. J. M* Hutchings, 
having heard of its wonderful scenery, collected a 
party and made the first regular tourist's visit to the 
Yosemite and in his California magazine described 
it in articles illustrated by a good artist, who was 
taken into the Valley by him for that purpose. This 
first party was followed by another from Mariposa 
the same year, consisting of sixteen or eighteen per- 
sons. The next year the regular pleasure travel 
began and a trail on the Mariposa side of the Valley 
was opened by Mann Brothers. This trail was 
afterwards purchased by the citizens of the county 
and made free to the public. The first house built in 
the Yosemite Valley was erected in the autumn of 
1866 and was kept as a hotel the next year by G. 
A. Hite and later by J. HL Neal and S. M. Cun- 
ningham. It was situated directly opposite the Yo- 
semite Fall. A little over half a mile farther up the 
Valley a canvas house was put up in 1868 by G. A. 
Hite. Next year a frame house was built and kept 
as a hotel by Mr. Peck, afterward by Mr. Longhurst 
and since 1864 by Mr. Hutchings. All these hotels 
have vanished except the frame house built in 



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236 THE YOSEMITE 

1859, which has been changed beyond recognition. 
A large hotel built on the brink of the river in front 
of the old one is now the only hotel in the Valley. 
A large hotel built by the State and located farther 
up the Valley was burned* To provide for the over- 
flow of visitors there are three camps with board 
floors, wood frame, and covered with canvas, well 
furnished, some of them with electric light A large 
first-class hotel is very much needed. 

Travel of late years has been rapidly increasing, 
especially after the establishment, by Act of CJon- 
gress in 1890, of the Yosemite National Park and 
the recession in 1905 of the original reservation to 
the Federal Government by the State. The greatest 
increase, of course, was caused by the construction of 
the Yosemite Valley railroad from Merced to the bor- 
der of the Park, eight miles below the Valley. 

It is eighty miles long, and the entire distance, 
except the first twenty-four miles from the town of 
Merced, is built through the precipitous Meroed 
River Canon. The roadbed was virtually blasted out 
of the solid rock for the entire distance in the canon. 
Work was begun in September, 1905, and the first 
train entered El Portal, the terminus, April 15, 
1907. Many miles of the road cost as much as $100,- 
000 per mile. Its business has increased from 4000 
tourists in the first year it was operated to 15,000 
in 1910; 



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xni 

LAMON 

r[E good old pioneer^ Lamon^ was the first of all 
the early Yosemite settlers who cordially and 
xmreservedly adopted the Valley as his home. 

He was bom in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, 
May 10, 1817, emigrated to Illinois with his father, 
John Lamon, at the age of nineteen ; afterwards went 
to Texas and settled on the Brazos, where he raised 
melons and himted alligators for a living. ^^ Bight 
interesting business^" he said; "especially the al- 
ligator part of it'* From the Brazos he went to 
the Comanche Indian country between Gonzales and 
Austin, twenty miles from his nearest neighbor. 
During the first summer, the only bread he had was 
the breast meat of wild turkeys. When the formi- 
dable Comanche Indians were on the war-path he left 
his cabin after dark and slept in the woods. From 
Texas he crossed the plains to California and worked 
in the Calaveras and Mariposa gold-fields. 

He first heard Yosemite spoken of as a very beau- 
tiful mountain valley and after making two excur^ 

sions in the sunmiers of 1857 and 1858 to see the 

237 



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288 THE YOSEMITE 

wonderful place^ he made tip his mind to quit roving 
and make a permanent home in it In April, 1859, 
he moved into it, located a garden opposite Mount 
Half Dome, set out a lot of apple, pear and peach 
trees, planted potatoes, etc., that he had packed in on 
a "contrary old mule,^* and worked for his board 
in building a hotel which was afterwards purchased 
by Mr. Hutchings. His neighbors thought he was 
very foolish in attempting to raise crops in so high 
and cold a valley, and warned him that he could 
raise nothing and sell nothing, and would surely 
starve. 

For the first year or two lack of provisions com- 
pelled him to move out on the approach of winter, 
but in 1862 after he had succeeded in raising some 
fruit and vegetables he began to winter in the Valley. 

The first winter he had no companions, not even a 
dog or cat, and one evening was greatly surprised to 
see two men coming up the Valley. They were very 
glad to see him, for they had come from Mariposa in 
search of him, a report having been spread that he 
had been killed by Indians. He assured his visitors 
that he felt safer in his Yosemite home, lying snug 
and squirrel-like in his 10 x 12 cabin than in Mari- 
posa. When the avalanches began to slip, he won- 
dered where all the wild roaring and booming came 
from, the fiying snow preventing them from being 
seen. But, upon the whole, he wondered most at 



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LAMON 239 

the brightness, gentleness, and snnniness of the 
weather, and hopefully employed the calm days in 
clearing ground for an orchard and vegetable garden. 

In the second winter he built a winter cabin imder 
the Royal Arches, where he enjoyed more sunshine. 
But no matter how he praised the weather he could 
not induce any one to winter with him until 1864. 

He liked to describe the great flood of 1867, the 
year before I reached California, when all the walls 
were striped with thundering waterfalls. 

He was a fine, erect^ whole-souled man, between 
six and seven feet high, with a broad, open face, 
bland and guileless as his pet oxen. No stranger to 
hunger and weariness, he knew well how to appre- 
ciate suffering of a like kind in others, and many 
there be, myself among the number, who can testify 
to his simple, xmostentatious kindness that found ex- 
pression in a thousand small deeds. 

After gaining sufficient means to enjoy a long 
afternoon of life in comparative affluence and ease, 
he died in the autumn of 1876. He sleeps in a 
beautiful spot near Galen Clark and a monument 
hewn from a block of Yosemite granite marks his 
grave. 



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XIV 

GALEN CLARK 

GALEN CLARK was the best mountaineer I ever 
met, and one of the kindest and most amiable 
of all my mountdn friends. I first met him at his 
Wawona ranch forty-three years ago on my first 
visit to Yosemite. I had entered the Valley with 
one companion by way of Coulterville, and returned 
by what was then known as the Mariposa traiL Both 
trails were buried in deep snow where the elevation 
was from 5000 to 7000 feet above sea-level in the 
sugar pine and silver fir regions. We had no great 
difficulty, however, in finding our way by the trends 
of the main features of the topography. Botanizing 
by the way, we made slow, plodding progress, and 
were again about out of provisions when we reached 
Clark^s hospitable cabin at Wawona. He kindly 
furnished us with flour and a little sugar and tea, 
and my companion, who complained of the benumb- 
ing poverty of a strictly vegetarian diet, gladly 
accepted Mr. Clark^s offer of a piece of a bear that 
had just been killed. After a short talk about bears 

and the forests and the way to the Big Trees, we 

240 



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GALEN OLAEK 241 

pushed on up through the Wawona firs and sugar 
pines, and camped in the now-famous Mariposa 
grove. 

Later, after making my home in the Yosemite Val- 
ley, I became well acquainted with Mr. Clark, while 
he was guardian. He was elected again and again 
to this important office by diflFerent Boards of Com- 
missioners on account of his efficiency and his real 
love of the Valley. 

Although nearly all my mountaineering has been 
done without companions, I had the pleasure of 
having Galen Clark with me on three excursions. 
About thirty-five years ago I invited him to ac- 
company me on a trip through the Big Tuoliunne 
Canon from Hetch Hetchy Valley. The canon up to 
that time had not been explored, and knowing that 
the difference in the elevation of the river at the 
head of the canon and in Hetch Hetchy was about 
5000 feet, we expected to find some magnificent 
cataracts or falls ; nor were we disappointed. When 
we were leaving Yosemite an ambitious young man 
begged leave to join us. I strongly advised him not 
to attempt such a long, hard trip, for it would un- 
doubtedly prove very trying to an inexperienced 
climber. He assured us, however, that he was equal 
to anything, would gladly meet every difficulty as it 
came, and cause us no hindrance or trouble of any 
sort So at last, after repeating our advice that he 

10 



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242 THE YOSEMITE 

give up the trip, we consented to his joining na. 
We entered the canon by way of Hetch Hetchy Val- 
ley, each carrying his own provisions^ and making his 
own tea, porridge, bed, etc 

In the morning of the second day ont from Hetch 
Hetchy we came to what is now known as "Muir 
Gorge,'* and Mr. Clark without hesitation prepared 
to force a way through it, wading and jumping from 
one submerged boulder to another through the tor- 
rent, bracing and steadying himself with a long pole^ 
Though the river was then rather low, the savage, 
roaring, surging song it was singing was rather nerve- 
trying, especially to our inexperienced companion* 
With careful assistance, however, I managed to get 
him throu^, but this hard trial, naturally enough, 
proved too much and he informed us, pale and 
trembling, that he could go no farther. I gathered 
some wood at the upper throat of the gorge, made 
a fire for him and advised him to feel at home and 
make himself comfortable, hoped he would enjoy the 
grand scenery and the songs of the water-ouzels 
which haunted the gorge, and assured him that we 
would return some time in the night, though it might 
be late, as we wished to go on through the entire 
canon if possible. We pushed our way through the 
dense chaparral and over the earthquake taluses with 
such speed that we reached the foot of the upper 
cataract while we had still an hour or so of daylight 



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GALEN CLAKK 243 

for the return trip. It was long after dark when we 
reached our adventurous, but nerve-shaken compan- 
ion who, of course, wa8 anxious and lonely, not be- 
ing accustomed to solitude, however kindly and 
flowery and full of sweet bird-song and stream-song. 
Being tired we simply lay down in restful comfort 
on the river bank beside a good fire, instead of try- 
ing to go down the gorge in the dark or climb over its 
high shoulder to our blankets and provisions, which 
we had left in the morning in a tree at the foot of 
the gorge. I remember Mr. Clark remarking that if 
he had his choice that night between provisions and 
blankets he would choose his blankets. 

The next morning in about an hour we had crossed 
over the ridge through which the gorge is cut, reached 
our provisions, made tea, and had a good breakfast. 
As soon as we had returned to Tosemite I obtained 
fresh provisions, pushed off alone up to the head of 
Yosemite Creek basin, entered the canon by a side 
canon, and completed the exploration up to the 
Tuolumne Meadows. 

It was on this first trip from Hetch Hetchy to 
the upper cataracts that I had convincing proofs 
of Mr. Clark's daring and skill as a mountaineer, 
particularly in fording torrents, and in forcing his 
way through thick chaparraL I found it somewhat 
diflScult to keep up with him in dense, tangled brush, 
though in jumping on boulder taluses and slippery 



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244 THE YOSEMITE 

cobble-beds I had no difficulty in leaving him behind. 

After I had discovered the glaciers on Mount Ly- 
ell and Mount McClure, Mr. Clark kindly made a 
second excursion with me to assist in establishing a 
line of stakes across the McClure glacier to measure 
its rate of flow. On this trip we also climbed Mount 
Lyell together, when the snow which covered the 
glacier was melted into upleaning, icy glades which 
were extremely difficult to cross, not being strong 
enough to support our weight, nor wide enough apart 
to enable us to stride across each blade as it was met. 
Here again I, being lighter, had no difficulty in keep- 
ing ahead of him. While resting after wearisome 
staggering and falling he stared at the marvelous 
ranks of leaning blad^, and said, " I think I have 
traveled all sorts of trails and canons, through all 
kinds of brush and snoW;^ but this gets me.'* 

Mr. Clark at my urgent ♦Request joined my small 
party on a trip to the Sings River yosemite by way 
of the high mountains, most of the way without a 
traiL He joined us at the Mariposa Big Tree grove 
and intended to go all the way, but finding that, on 
account of the difficulties encountered, the time re- 
quired was much greater than he expected, he turned 
back near the head of the north fork of the Kings 
River. 

In cooking his mess of oatmeal porridge and mak- 
ing tea^ his pot was always the first to boil, and I 



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GAXEN CLAEK 245 

used to wonder why, with all his skill in scrambling 
through brush in the easiest way, and preparing his 
meals, he was so utterly careless about his beds. He 
would lie down anywhere on any ground, rough or 
smooth, without taking pains even to remove cob- 
bles or sharp-angled rocks protruding through the 
grass or gravel, saying that his own bones were as 
hard as any stones and could do him no harm. 

His kindness to all Yosemite visitors and moun- 
taineers was marvelously constant and uniform. He 
was not a good business man, and in building an ex- 
tensive hotel and bams at Wawona, before the travel 
to Yosemite had been greatly developed, he bor- 
rowed money, mortgaged his property and lost it 
aU. 

Though not the first to see the Mariposa Big Tree 
grove, he was the first to explore it, after he had 
heard from a prospector, who had passed through the 
grove and who gave him the indefinite information, 
that there were some wonderful big trees up there 
on the top of the Wawona hill and that he believed 
they must be of the same kind that had become so 
famous and well-known in the Calaveras grove far- 
ther north. On this information, Galen Clark told 
me, he went up and thoroughly explored the grove, 
counting the trees and measuring the largest, and 
becoming familiar with it. He stated also that he 
had explored the forest to the southward and had dis- 



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246 THE YOSEMITE 

covered the much larger Fresno grove of about two 
square miles, six or seven miles distant from the 
Mariposa grove. Unfortunately most of the Fresno 
grove has been cut and flumed down to the railroad 
near Madera. 

Mr. Clark was truly and literally a gentle-man. 
I never heard him utter a hasty, angry, fault-finding 
word. His voice was uniformly pitched at a rather 
low tone, perfectly even, although glances of his eyes 
and slight intonations of his voice often indicated 
that something funny or mildly sarcastic was coming, 
but upon tho whole he was serious and industrious, 
and, however deep and fun-provoking a story might 
be, he never indulged in boisterous laughter. 

He was very fond of scenery and once told me after 
I became acquainted with him that he liked " noth- 
ing in the world better than climbing to the top of a 
high ridge or mountain and looking off." He pre- 
ferred the mountain ridges and domes in the Yo- 
semite regions on account of the wealth and beauty 
of the forests. Oftentimes he would take his rifle, 
a few poimds of bacon, a few pounds of flour, and 
a single blanket and go off hunting, for no other rea- 
son than to explore and get acquainted with the 
most beautiful points of view within a jotimey of a 
week or two from his Wawona home. On these trips 
he was always alone and could indulge in tranquil 
enjoyment of Nature to his heart's content. He said 



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GALEN CLAEK 247 

that on those trips, when he was a sufficient distance 
from home in a neighborhood where he wished to 
linger, he always shot a deer, sometimes a grouse, and 
occasionally a bear. After diminishing the weight of 
a deer or bear by eating part of it, he carried as much 
as possible of the best of the meat to Wawona, and 
from his hospitable well-supplied cabin no weary 
wanderer ever went away hungry or imrested. 

The value of the moimtain air in prolonging life 
is well exemplified in Mr. Clark's case. While work- 
ing in the mines he contracted a severe cold that set- 
tled on his lungs and finally caused severe inflamma- 
tion and bleeding, and none of his friends thought 
he would ever recover. The physicians told him he 
had but a short time to live. It was then that he re- 
paired to the beautiful sugar pine woods at Wawona 
and took up a claim, including the fine meadows 
there, and building his cabin, began his life of wan- 
dering and exploring in the glorious mountains about 
him, usually going bareheaded. In a remarkably 
short time his lungs were healed. 

He was one of the most sincere tree-lovers I ever 
knew. About twenty years before his death he made 
choice of a plot in the Tosemite cemetery on the north 
side of the Valley, not far from the Tosemite Fall, 
and selecting a dozen or so of seedling sequoias 
in the Mariposa grove he brought them to the Valley 
and planted them around the spot he had chosen for 



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248 THE YOSEMITE 

his last rest The ground there is gravelly and dry; 
by careful watering he finally nursed most of the seed- 
lings into goody thrifty trees, and doubtless they will 
long shade the grave of their blessed lover and 
friend. 



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XV 

HETCH HETGKY VALLEY 

YOSEMITE is so wonderful that we are apt to 
regard it as an exceptional creation, the only 
valley of its kind in the world ; but Nature is not so 
poor as to have only one of anything. Several other 
yosemites have been discovered in the Sierra that 
occupy the same relative positions on the Bange and 
were formed by the same forces in the same kind 
of granite. One of these, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, 
is in the Tosemite National Park about twenty miles 
from Yosemite and is easily accessible to all sorts of 
travelers by a road and trail that leaves the Big Oak 
Plat road at Bronson Meadows a few miles below 
Crane Flat, and to mountaineers by way of Tosemite 
Creek basin and the head of the middle fork of the 
Tuolumne. 

It is said to have been discovered by Joseph 
Screech, a hunter, in 1850, a year before the dis- 
covery of the great Yosemite. After my first visit 
to it in the autumn of 1871, I have always called it 
the " Tuolumne Yosemite," for it is a wonderfully 
exact counterpart of the Merced Yosemite, not only 

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260 THE TOSEMITE 

in its sublime rocks and waterfalls but in the gardens, 
groves and meadows of its flowery park-like floor. 
The floor of Tosemite is about 4000 feet above the 
sea; the Hetch Hetchj floor about 3700 feet And 
as the Meroed Biver flows through Yosemite, so does 
the Tuolumne through Hetch Hetchy. The walls of 
both are of gray granite, rise abruptly from the 
floor, are sculptured in the same slyle and in both 
every rock is a glacier monument 

Standing boldly out from the south wall is a 
strikingly picturesque rock called by the Indians, 
Kolana, the outermost of a group 2300 feet high, cor- 
responding with the Cathedral Bocks of Tosemite 
both in relative position and form. On the opposite 
side of the Valley, facing Kolana, there is a counter- 
part of the El Capitan that rises sheer and plain to a 
height of 1800 feet, and over its massive brow flows 
a stream which makes the most graceful fall I have 
ever seen. From the edge of the cliff to the top of 
an earthquake talus it is perfectly free in the air 
for a thousand feet before it is broken into cascades 
among talus bouldersi It is in all its glory in June, 
when the snow is melting fast, but fades and vanishes 
toward the end of summer. The only fall I know 
with which it may fairly be compared is the Tosemite 
Bridal Veil ; but it excels even that favorite fall both 
in height and airy-fairy beauty and behavior. Low- 
landers are apt to suppose that mountain streams in 



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HETCH HETCHY VALLEY 251 

their wUd career over cliffs lose control of themselves 
and tumble in a noisy chaos of mist and spray. On 
the contrary, on no part of their travels are they 
more harmonious and self-controlled. Imagine your- 
self in Hetch Hetchy on a stinny day in Jime^ stand- 
ing waist-deep in grass and flowers (as I have often 
stood), while the great pines sway dreamily with 
scarcely perceptible motion. Looking nortiward 
across the Valley you see a plain, gray granite cliff 
rising abruptly out of the gardens and groves to a 
height of 1800 feet, and in front of it Tueeulala's 
silvery scarf burning with irised sun-fire. In the 
first white outburst at the head there is abundance of 
visible energy, but it is speedily hushed and concealed 
in divine repose, and its tranquil progress to the base 
of the cliff is like that of a downy feather in a still 
room. Now observe the fineness and marvelous dis- 
tinctness of the various sxui-illumined fabrics into 
which the water is woven; they sift and float from 
form to form down the face of that grand gray rock 
in so leisurely and unconfused a manner that you can 
examine their texture, and patterns and tones of color 
as you would a piece of ^nbroidery held in the hand. 
Toward the top of the fall you see groups of boom- 
ing, comet-like masses, their solid, white heads sepa- 
rate, their tails like combed silk interlacing among 
delicate gray and purple shadows, over forming and 
dissolving, worn out by friction in their rush through 



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262 THE YOSEMITE 

the air. Most of these vanish a few hundred feet 
below the siumnit, changing to varied forms of cloud- 
like drapery. Near the bottom the width of the fall 
has increased from about twenty-five feet to a hun- 
dred feet Here it is composed of yet finer tissues, 
and is still without a trace of disorder — air, water 
and simlight woven into stuff that spirits might wear- 
So fine a fall might well seem sxifEcient to glorify 
any valley; but here, as in Tosemite, Natiire seems in 
nowise moderate, for a short distance to the eastward 
of Tueeulala booms and thunders the great Hetch 
Hetchy Fall, Wapama, so near that you have both of 
them in full view from the same standpoint. It is 
the counterpart of the Tosemite Fall, but has a much 
greater volume of water, is about 1700 feet in height, 
and appears to be nearly vertical, though considerably 
inclined, and is dashed into huge outbouoding bosses 
of foam on projecting shelves and knobs. No two 
falls could be more unlike — Tueeulala out in the open 
sunshine descending like thistledown; Wapama in a 
jagged, shadowy gorge roaring mid thundering, 
poimding its way like an earthquake avalanche. 

Besides this glorious pair there is a broad, massive 
fall on the main river a short distance above the head 
of the Valley. Its position is something like that of 
the Vernal in Yosemite, and its roar as it plunges 
into a surging trout-pool may be heard a long way, 
though it is only about twenty feet high. On Ban- 



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r-— 

VHE NLW YOPxK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 



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HETCH HETCHY ^VALLEY 268 

cheria Creek, a large stream, corresponding in posi- 
tion with the Yosemite Tenaya Creek, there is a chain 
of cascades joined here and there with swift flashing 
plumes like the one between the Vernal and ITevada 
Falls, making magnificent shows as they go their 
glacier-sculptured way, sliding, leaping, hurrahing, 
covered with crisp clashing spray made glorious with 
sifting sunshine. And besides aU these a few small 
streams come over the walls at wide intervals, leap- 
ing from ledge to ledge with birdlike song and water- 
ing many a hidden diff-garden and fernery, but they 
are too unshowy to be noticed in so grand a place. 

The correspondence between the Hetch Hetchy 
walls in their trends, sculpture, physical structure, 
and general arrangement of the main rock-masses and 
those of the Yosemite Valley has excited the wonder- 
ing admiration of every observer. We have seen 
that the El Capitan and Cathedral rocks occupy the 
same relative positions in both valleys ; so also do 
their Yosemite points and North Domes. Again, 
that part of the Yosemite north wall immediately to 
.the east of the Yosemite Fall has two horizontal 
benches, about 500 and 1500 feet above the floor, 
timbered with golden-cup oak. Two benches simi- 
larly situated and timbered occur on the same rela- 
tive portion of the Hetch Hetchy north wall, to the 
east of Wapama Fall, and on no other. The Yo- 
semite is bounded at the head by the great Half 



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264 THE YOSEMITE 

Dome. Hetch Hetchj is bounded in the same way, 
though its head rock is incomparably less wonderful 
and sublime in form. 

The floor of the Valley is about three and a half 
miles long, and from a fourth to half a mile wide. 
The lower portion is mostly a level meadow about 
a mile long, with the trees restricted to the sides and 
the river banks, and partially separated from the 
main, upper, forested portion by a low bar of gla- 
cier-polished granite across which the river breaks in 
rapids. 

The principal trees are the yellow and sugar pines, 
digger pine, incense cedar, Douglas spruce, silver fir, 
the California and golden-cup oaks, balsam cotton- 
wood, Nuttall's flowering dogwood, alder, maple, 
laurel, tumion, etc. The most abundant and influ- 
ential are the great yellow or silver pines like those 
of Tosemite, the tallest over two hundred feet in 
height, and the oaks assembled in magnificent groves 
with massive rugged trunks four to six feet in diam- 
eter, and broad, shady, wide-spreading heads. The 
shrubs forming conspicuous flowery clumps and 
tangles are manzanita, azalea, spirsea, brieivrose, sev- 
eral species of ceanothus, calycanthus, philadelphus, 
wild cherry, etc ; with abundance of showy and fra- 
grant herbaceous plants growing about them or out 
in the open in beds by themselves — lilies, Mariposa 
tulips, brodiaeas, orchids, iris, spraguea, draperia. 



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HETCH HETCHY VALLEY 255 

coUomia, collinsia, castilleja, nemophila, larkspur, 
columbiney goldenrods, sunflowers, mints of many spe- 
cies, honeysuckle, etc. Many fine ferns dwell here 
also, especially the beautiful stnd interesting rock- 
ferns — pellaea, and cheilanthes of several species 
— fringing and resetting dry rock-piles and ledges ; 
woodwardia and asplenium on damp spots with 
fronds six or seyen feet high; the delicate maiden- 
hair in mossy nooks by the falls, and the sturdy, 
broad-shouldered pteris covering nearly all the dry 
groimd beneath the oaks and pines. 

It appears, therefore, that Hetch Hetchy Valley, 
far from being a plain, common, rock-bound meadow, 
as many who have not seen it seem to suppose, is a 
grand landscape garden, one of ITature's rarest and 
most precious mountain temples. As in Yosemite, 
the sublime rocks of its walls seem to glow with life, 
whether leaning back in repose or standing erect in 
thoughtful attitudes, giving welcome to storms and 
calms alike, their brows in the sky, their feet set in 
the groves and gay flowery meadows, while birds, 
bees, and butterflies help the river and waterfalls to 
stir all the air into music — things frail and fleeting 
and lypes of permanence meeting here and blending, 
just as they do in Yosemite, to draw her lovers into 
close and confiding communion with her. 

Sad to say, this most precious and sublime feature 
of the Yosemite National Park, one of the greatest 



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256 THE TOSEMITE 

of all our natural reeources for the uplifting joy and 
peace and health of the people, is in danger of being 
danuned and made into a reservoir to help supply 
San Franoisoo with water and light, thus flooding it 
from wall to wall and burying its gardens and groves 
one or two hundred feet deep. This grossly destruc- 
tive commercial sch^ne has long been planned and 
urged (though water as pure and abimdant can be 
got from sources outside of the people's park, in a 
dozen different places), because of the comparative 
cheapness of the dam and of the territory which it 
is sought to divert from the great uses to which it 
was dedicated in the Act of 1890 establishing the 
Yosemite National Park. 

The making of gardens and parks goes on with 
civilization all over the world, and they increase both 
in size and number as their value is recognized. 
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to 
play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and 
cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This 
natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little 
window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only 
a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the 
carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the 
thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gar- 
dens, and in our magnificent National parks — the 
Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc — Nature's sub- 
lime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the 



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HETCH HETCHT VALLEY 26Y 

world. Nevertheless, like anything else worth while, 
from the very beginning, however well guarded, they 
have always been subject to attack by despoiling gain- 
seekers and mischief-makers of every d^ree from 
Satan to Senators, eagerly trying to make everything 
immediately and selfishly commercial, with schemes 
disguised in smug-smiling philanthropy, industri- 
ously, shampiously crying, " Conservation, conserva- 
tion, panutilization,^* that man and beast may be fed 
and the dear Nation made great. Thus long ago a 
few enterprising merchants utilized the Jerusalem 
temple as a place of business instead of a place of 
prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and 
sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest 
reservation, including only one tree, was likewise de- 
spoiled. Ever since the establishment of the Yosem- 
ite National Park, strife has been going on around its 
borders and I suppose this will go on as part of the 
universal battle , between right and wrong, however 
much its boundaries may be shorn, or its wild beauty 
destroyed. 

The first application to the Government by the 
San Francisco Supervisors for the conmiercial use of 
Lake Eleanor and the Hetch Hetchy Valley was made 
in 1903, and on December 22nd of that year it was 
denied by the Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Hitch- 
cock, who truthfully said : 

17 



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268 THE TOSEMITE 

Presumably tiie Yoeemite National Park was created 
such by law because of the natural objects of varying de- 
grees of scenic importance located within its boundaries, 
inclusive alike of its beautiful small lakes, like Eleanor, 
and its majestic wonders, like Hetch Hetchy and Yo- 
semite Valley. It is the aggregation of such natural 
scenic features that makes the Yosemite Park a wonder- 
land which the Congress of the United States sought by 
law to reserve for all coming time as nearly as practi- 
cable in the condition fashioned by the hand of the Crea- 
tor — a worthy object of National pride and a source of 
healthful pleasure and rest for the thousands of people 
who may annually sojourn there during thie heated 
months. 

In 1907 when Mr. Garfield became Secretary of 
the Interior the application was reaewei and granted ; 
but under his successor^ Mr. Fisher, the matter has 
been referred to a Commission, which as this volume 
goes to press still has it under consideration. 

The most delightful and wonderful camp grounds 
in the Park are its three great valleys — Yosemite, 
Hetch Hetchy, and Upper Tuolunme; and they are 
also the most important places with reference to their 
positions relative to the other great features— -the 
Merced and Tuolunme Cafions, and the High Sierra 
peaks and glaciers, etc, at the head of the rivers. 
The main part of the Tuolumne Valley is a spacious 
flowery lavm four or five miles long, surrounded by 



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HETCH HETCHT VALLEY 259 

magnificent snowy mountains, slightly separated 
from other beautiful meadows, which together make 
a series about twelve miles in length, the highest 
reaching to the feet of Mount Dana, Mount Gibbs, 
Moimt Lyell and Mount McClure, It is about 8500 
feet above the sea, and forms the grand central High 
Sierra camp ground from which excursions are made 
to the noble mountains, domes, glaciers, etc. ; across 
the Bange to the Mono Lake and volcanoes and down 
the Tuolumne Canon to Hetch Hetchy. Should 
Hetch Hetchy be submerged for a reservoir, as pro- 
posed, not only would it be utterly destroyed, but the 
sublime canon way to the heart of the High Sierra 
would be hopelessly blocked and the great camping 
ground, as the watershed of a city drinking system, 
virtually would be closed to the public. So far as I 
have learned, few of all the thousands who have seen 
the park and seek rest and peace in it are in favor of 
this outrageous scheme. 

One of my later visits to the Valley was made in 
the autumn of 1907 with the late William Keith, the 
artist The leaf-colors were then ripe, and the great 
godlike rocks in repose seemed to glow with life. The 
artist, under their spell, wandered day after day along 
the river and through the groves and gardens, study- 
ing the wonderful scenery ; and, after making about 
forty sketches, declared with enthusiasm that although 



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260 THE YOSEMITE 

its walls were less sublime in height, in picturesque 
beauty and charm Hetch Hetchj surpassed even Yo- 
semita 

That any one would try to destroy such a place 
seems incredible; but sad experience shows that there 
are people good enough and bad enough for anything. 
The proponents of the dam scheme bring forward a 
lot of bad arguments to prove that the only righteous 
thing to do with the people's parks is to destroy them 
bit by bit as they are able. Their arguments are curi- 
ously like those of the devil, devised for the destruc- 
tion of the first garden — so much of the very best 
Eden fruit going to waste; so much of the best 
Tuolumne water and Tuolumne scenery going to 
waste. Few of their statements are even partly true, 
and all are misleading. 

Thus, Hetch Hetchy, they say, is a "low-lying 
meadow.'' On the contrary, it is a high-lying natural 
landscape garden, as the photographic illustrations 
show. 

" It is a common minor feature, like thousands of 
others." On the contrary it is a very uncommon fea- 
ture; after Yosemite, the rarest and in many ways 
the most important in the National Park. 

" Damming and submerging it 175 feet deep would 
enhance its beauty by forming a crystal-clear lake." 
Landscape gardens, places of recreation and worship^ 
are never made beautiful by destroying and burying 



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w 

O 

tr 
< 

9 




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THE NEW YOftK' 

FuBLlC LI'JRAaY; 



ASTOR, LENOX An»0 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 



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HETCH HETCHT VALLEY 261 

them. The beautiful sham lake, forsooth, ^ould be 
only an eyesore, a dismal blot on the landscape, like 
many others to be seen in the Sierra. For, instead 
of keeping it at the same level all the year, allowing 
Nature centuries of time to make new shores, it 
would, of course, be full only a month or two in the 
spring, when the snow is melting fast ; then it would 
be gradually drained, exposing the slimy sides of the 
basin and shallower parts of the bottom, with the 
gathered drift and waste, death and decay of the 
upper basins, caught here instead of being swept on 
to decent natural burial along the banks of the river 
or in the sea. Thus the Hetch Hetchy dam-lake 
would be only a rough imitation of a natural lake for 
a few of the spring months, an open sepulcher for 
the others. 

" Hetch Hetchy water is the purest of all to be 
found in the Sierra, unpolluted, and forever unpol- 
lutable." On the contrary, excepting that of the 
Merced below Yosemite, it is less pure than that of 
most of the other Sierra streams, because of the sewer- 
age of camp grounds draining into it, especially of 
the Big Tuolumne Meadows camp ground, occupied 
by hundreds of tourists and mountaineers, with their 
animals, for months every summer, soon to be fol- 
lowed by thousands from all the world. 

These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging com- 
mercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Na- 



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262 THE TOSEMITE 

true, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of 
the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. 

Dam Hetch Hetchy ! As well dam for water-tanks 
the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier 
temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man. 



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APPENDIX A 

Legislation About the Yobemitb 
In the year 1864, Congress passed the following act : — 

ACT OF JUNE 30, 1864 (13 STAT., 325). 

AN ACT Authorizing a grant to the State of California of the 
'' Yo-Semite Valley," and of the land embracing the " Mar- 
iposa Big Tree Grove." 

*^ Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States of America, in Congress 
assembled. That there shall be, and is hereby, granted 
to the State of California, the 'Cleft' or 'Gorge' in 
the Granite Peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, sit- 
uated in the county of Mariposa, in the State aforesaid, 
and the headwaters of the Merced Biver, and known as 
the Yosemite Valley, with its branches and spurs, in 
estimated length fifteen miles, and in average width 
one mile back from the main edge of the precipice, on 
each side of the Valley, with the stipulation, neverthe- 
less, that the said State shall accept this grant upon 
the express conditions that the premises shall be held 
for public use, resort, and recreation; shall be inalienable 
for all time; but leases not exceeding ten years may be 
granted for portions of said premises. All incomes de- 
rived from leases of privileges to be expended in the 
preservation and improvement of the properly, or the 

263 



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264 THE YOSEMITE 

roads leading thereto; the boundaries to be established 
at the cost of said State by the United States Surveyor- 
General of California, whose official plat, when affirmed 
by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, shall 
constitute the evidence of the locus, extent, and limits 
of the said Cleft or Gorge ; the premises to be managed 
by the Governor of the State, with eight other Commis- 
sioners, to be appointed by the Executive of California, 
and who shall receive no compensation for their services. 

"Sec. 2. And be it further enacted. That there 
shall likewise be, and there is hereby, granted to the 
said State of California, the tracts embracing what is 
known as the ' Mariposa Big Tree Grove,' not to exceed 
the area of four sections, and to be taken in legal sub- 
divisions of one-quarter section each, with the like stip- 
ulations as expressed in the first section of this Act as 
to the State's acceptance, with like conditions as in the 
first section of this Act as to inalienability, yet with the 
same lease privileges ; the income to be expended in the 
preservation, improvement, and protection of the prop- 
erty, the premises to be managed by Commissioners, as 
stipulated in the first section of this Act, and to be taken 
in legal subdivisions as aforesaid; and the official plat 
of the United States Surveyor-General, when affirmed 
by the Commissioner of the General Itfmd Office, to be 
the evidence of the locus of the said Mariposa Big Tree 
Grove.'' 

This important act was approved by the President, 
June 30, 1864, and shortly after the Governor of Cali- 
fornia, F. F. Low, issued a proclamation taking posses- 
sion of the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa grove of Big 



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APPENDIX A 265 

Trees^ in the name and on behalf of the State^ appoint- 
ing commissioners to manage them, and warning all 
persons against trespassing or settling there without au- 
thority, and especially forbidding the cutting of timber 
and other injurious acts. 

The first Board of Commissioners were P. Law Olm- 
sted, J. D. Whitney, William Ashburner, I. W, Ray- 
mond, E. S. Holden, Alexander Peering, George W. 
Coulter, and Galen Clark. 

ACT OF OCTOBER 1, 1890 (26 STAT., 660). i 

AN ACT To set apart certain tracts of land in tlie State of 
California as forest reservations. 

^ Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Represen- 
tatives of the United States of America in Congress as- 
sembled. That the tracts of land in the State of Cali- 
fornia known as described as follows : Commencing at 
the northwest comer of township two north, range nine- 
teen east Mount Diablo meridian, thence eastwardly on 
the line between townships two and three north, ranges 
twenty-four and twenty-five east; thence southwardly 
on the line between ranges twenty-four and twenty-five 
east to the Mount Diablo base line; thence eastwardly 
on said base line to the comer to township one south, 
ranges twenty-five and twenty-six east; thence south- 
wardly on tiie line between ranges twenty-five and 
twenty-six east to the southeast comer of township two 
south, range twenty-five east; thence eastwardly on the 

> Sections 1 and 2 of this act pertain to the Yosemite T^ational 
Park, while section 8 sets apart General Grant National Park, and 
also a portion of Sequoia National Park. 



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266 THE YOSEMITE 

line between townships two and three souths range 
twenty-six east to the comer to townships two ani three 
south, ranges twenty-six and twenty-seven east; thence 
southwardly on the line between ranges twenty-six and 
twenty-seven east to the first standard parallel south; 
thence westwardly on the first standard parallel south 
to the southwest comer of township four south, range 
nineteen east; thence northwardly on the line between 
ranges eighteen and nineteen east to the northwest cor- 
ner of township two south, range nineteen east; thence 
westwardly on the line between townships one and two 
south to the southwest comer of township one south, 
range nineteen east; thence northwardly on the line 
between ranges eighteen and nineteen east to the north- 
west comer of township two north, range nineteen east, 
the place of beginning, are hereby reserved and with- 
drawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the 
laws of the United States, and set apart as reserved 
forest lands; and all persons who shall locate or settle 
upon, or occupy the same or any part thereof, except as 
hereinafter provided, shall be considered trespassers and 
removed therefrom: Provided, however. That nothing 
in this act shall be construed as in anywise affecting the 
grant of lands made to the State of California by virtue 
of the act entitled, ' An act authorizing a grant to the 
State of California of the Yosemite Valley, and of the 
land embracing the Mariposa Big-Tree Grove, appeared 
June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four; or as 
affecting any bona-fide entry of land made within the 
limits above described under any law of the TJnited 
States prior to the approval of this act. 



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APPENDIX B 267 

" Sbo. 2. That said reservation shall be under the ex- 
clusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, whose 
duty it shall be, as soon as practicable, to make and pub- 
lish such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary 
or proper for the care and management of the same. 
Such regulations shall provide for the preservation from 
injury of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosi- 
ties, or wonders within said reservation, and their re- 
tention in their natural condition. The Secretary may, 
in his discretion, grant leases for building purposes for 
terms not exceeding ten years of small parcels of ground 
not exceeding five acres; at such places in said reserva- 
tion as shall require the erection of buildings for the 
acconmiodation of visitors; all of the proceeds of said 
leases and other revenues that may be derived from 
any source connected with said reservation to be ex- 
pended under his direction in the management of the 
same and the construction of roads and paths therein. 
He shall provide against the wanton destruction of the 
fish, and game found within said reservation, and against 
their capture or destruction, for the purposes of mer- 
chandise or profit. He shall also cause all persons tres- 
passing upon the same after the passage of this act to 
be removed therefrom, and, generally, shall be author- 
ized to take all such measures as shall be necessary or 
proper to fully carry out the objects and purposes of 
this act. 

" Sbo. 3. There shall also be and is hereby reserved 
and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale un- 
der the laws of the United States, and shall be set apart 
as reserved forest lands, as hereinbefore provided, and 



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268 THE TOSEMITE 

subject to all the limitations and provisions herein con- 
tained, the following additional lands, to wit: Township 
seventeen south, range thirty east of the Mount Diablo 
meridian, excepting sections thirly-one, tiiirty-two, 
thirty-three, and thirty-four of said township, included 
in a previous bill. And there is also reserved and with- 
drawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the 
laws of the United States, and set apart as forest lands, 
subject to like limitations, conditions, and provisions, 
all of townships fifteen and sixteen south, of ranges 
twenty-nine and thiriy east of the Mount Diablo merid- 
ian. And there is also hereby reserved and withdrawn 
from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of 
the United States, and set apart as reserved forest lands 
under like limitations, restrictions, and provisions, sec- 
tions five and six in •township fourteen south, range 
twenty-eight east of Mount Diablo meridian, and also 
sections thirty-one and thirty-two of township thirteen 
south, range twenty-eight east of the same meridian. 
Nothing in this act shall authorize rules or contracts 
touching the protection and improvement of said reser- 
vations, beyond the sums that may be received by the 
Secretary of the Interior under the foregoing provisions, 
or authorize any charge against the Treasury of ihe 
United States. 

ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE OP THE STATE OP CALI- 
PORNIA, APPROVED MARCH 3, 1905 

" Seo. 1. The State of California does hereby recede 
and regrant unto the United States of America the 



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APPENDIX B 269 

'cleft' or * gorge' in the granite peak of the Sierra 
Nevada Monntains^ situated in the county of Maripoea, 
State of California, and the headwaters of the Merced 
River, and known as the Yosemite Valley, with its 
branches and spurs, granted unto the State of California 
in trust for public use, resort, and recreation by the act 
of Congress entitled, * An act authorizing a grant to the 
State of California of the Yosemite Valley and of the 
land embracing the Mariposa Big Tree Grove,' approved 
June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four; and 
the State of California does hereby relinquish unto the 
United States of America and resign the trusts created 
and granted by the said act of Congress. 

** Sec. 2. The State of California does hereby recede 
and regrant unto the United States of America the tracts 
embracing what is known as the 'Mariposa Big Tree 
Grove,' planted unto the State of California in trust 
for public use, resort, and recreation by the act of Con- 
gress referred to in section one of this act, and the State 
of California does hereby relinquish unto the United 
States of America and resign the trusts created and 
granted by the said act of Congress. 

" Sec. 3. This act shall take effect from and after 
acceptance by the United States of America of the reces- 
sions and regrants herein made, thereby forever releas- 
ing the State of California from further cost of main- 
taining the said premises, the same to be held for all 
time by the United States of America for public use, 
resort, and recreation, and imposing on the United 
States of Anierica the cost of maintaining the same as 



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270 THE TOSEMITE 

a national park: Provided, however. That the reces- 
sion and regrant hereby made shall not affect vested 
rights and interests of third persons.^ 



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APPENDIX B 



TABLE OP DISTANCES 

From the Guardian's oflBce, in the village, the dis- 
tances to various points are in miles as follows : 

Miles, 

Bridal Veil Fall 4.04 

Cascade Falls 7.67 

Cloud's Rest, Summit 11.81 

Columbia Rock, on Eagle Peak Trail 1.98 

Dana, Mt., Summit 40.34 

Eagle Peak 6.69 

El Capitan Bridge 3.63 

Glacier Point, direct trail 4.46 

Glacier Point, by Nevada Falls 16.98 

Lyell, Mt., Summit 38.20 

Merced Bridge 2.03 

Mirror Lake, by Hunt's avenue 2.91 

Nevada Fall (Hotel) 4.63 

Nevada Fall, Bridge above 6.46 

Pohono Bridge 5.29 

Register Rock 3.24 

Ribbon Fall 3.99 

Rocky Point (base of Three Brothers) 1.46 

Tenayah Creek Bridge 2.26 

Tenayah Lake 16.00 

Yosemite Falls, foot 0.90 

Yosemite Falls, foot Upper Fall 2.67 

Yosemite Falls, top 4.33 

Soda Sprin'gs (Eagle Peak Trail) 24.50 

Sentinel Dome 5.57 

Union Point, on Glacier Point Trail 3.13 

Vernal FaU 3 .60 



271 



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APPENDIX C 

Maximum Rates for Transportation 

The following rates for transportation in and about 
the Valley have been established by the Board of Com- 
missioners : 

SADDLE-HORSES 

From Route to Amount, 

Valley Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome, and 

return, direct, same day $3 00 

Valley Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, and Fis- 
sures, and return, direct, same day . . 3 75 

Valley Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, and Fis- 
sure^ passing night at Glacier Point 3 00 

Valley Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, Nevada 

Fall, and Casa Nevada, passing night 

at Casa Nevada 3 00 

Valley Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, Nevada 

Fall, Vernal Fall, and thence to Val- 
ley same day 4 00 

Glacier Point . .Valley direct 2 00 

Glacier Point . . Sentinel Dome, Nevada Fall, and Casa 

Nevada, passing night at Casa Nevada 2 00 

Glacier Point . . Sentinel Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal 

Fall, and thence to Valley same day. 3 00 

Valley Summits, Vernal and Nevada Falls, di- 
rect, and return to Valley same day. . 3 00 

Valley Glacier Point by Casa Nevada, passing 

night at Glacier Point 3 00 

Valley Summits, Vernal and Nevada Falls, 

Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, and 
thence to Valley same day 4 00 

Valley Cloud's Rest and return to Casa Nevada 3 00 

Valley Cloud's Rest and return to Valley same 

day 5 00 

272 



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APPENDIX C 278 

Casa Nevada . . Cloud's Rest and return to Casa Nevada 

or Valley same day 3 00 

Casa Nevada . .Valley direct 2 00 

Casa Nevada . .Nevada Fall, Sentinel Dome, and Qlacier 

Point, passing night at Glacier Point 2 00 
Valley Nevada Fall, Sentinel Dome, Glacier 

Point, and Valley same day 3 00 

Upper Yosemite Fall, Eagle Peak, and 

return 3 00 

Charge for guide (including horse) , 

when furnished 3 00 

Saddle-horses, on level of Valley, per day 2 50 



1. The above charges do not include feed for horses 
when passing night at Casa Nevada or Glacier Point 

2. Where Valley is specified as starting-point, the 
above rates prevail from any hotel in Valley, or from 
the foot of any trail. 

3. Any shortening of above trips, without proportion- 
ate reduction of rates, shall be at the option of those 
hiring horses. 

4. Trips other than those above specified shall be 
subject to special arrangement between letter and hirer. 



OABRIAOES 



From Route to AmoiinU 

Hotels Mirror Lake and return, direct $1 00 

Hotels Mirror Lake and return . by Tissiack 

Avenue 1 25 

Hotels Mirror Lake and return to foot of Trail, 

to Vernal and Nevada Falls 1 00 

Hotels. ^ Bridal Veil Fall and return, direct. ... 1 00 

Hotels Pohono Bridge, down either side of Val- 
ley, and return on opposite side, stop- 
ping at Yosemite and Bridal Veil 
Falls 1.60 



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274 THE YOSEMITE 

Maxiicum Rates fob Transportation — Contin/ued. 

Hotels Cascade Falls, down either side of Val- 
ley, and return on opposite side, stop- 
ping at Yosemite and Bridal VeU 
Fal& 2^5 

Hotels Artist Point and return, direct, stopping 

at Bridal Veil FaU 2 00 

Hotels New Inspiration Point and return, di- 
rect, stopping at Bridal Veil Fall.. 2 00 

Grand Hound Drive, including Yosemite 

and Bridal Veil Falls, excluding Lake 

and Cascades 2 50 

Grand Round Drive, including Yosemite 

and Bridal Veil Falls, Lake, and Cas- 
cades 3 60 

1. When the value of the seats hired in any vehicle 
shall exceed $15 for a two-horse team, or $25 for a four- 
horse team, for any trip in the above schedule, the per- 
sons hiring the seats shall have the privilege of paying 
no more than the aggregate sums of $15 and $25 per 
trip for a two-horse and four-horse team, respectively. 

2. If saddle-horses should be substituted for any of 
the above carriage trips, carriage rates will apply to each 
horse. In no case shall the per diem charge of $2.50 
for each saddle-horse, on level of Valley, be exceeded. 

Any excess of the above rates, as well as any extortion, 
incivility, misrepresentation, or the riding of imsafe 
animals, should be promptly reported at the Guardian^s 
office. 



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INDEX 



Alaska, glacial action, 174 
Alpenglow, 6 
American River, 127 
Anderson, Qeorge, his ascent 

of South Dome, 166, 167 
Antarctia, glacial action^ 174 
Ascent of the Valley, 23 
Autumn in the Valley, 156 
Avalanche Cafion, 224 
Avalanche taluses, origin of, 

76, 79 
Avalanches, 

After snow storm, 63 

Annual, 64 

Century, 64 

Ride on an avalanche, 65 
Azaleas, 152 

B 

Big Oak Flat road, 109, 200, 

225, 249 
Big Trees {Sequoia gigantea), 

127, 225 
Age of, 129, 130, 136 
Bark, 133 

Calaveras grove, 129, 130 
Cones, 133 
Crown, 134 
Destruction by man, 146, 

146 
Distribution, 135, 138, 142, 

144 



276 



Big Trees — Continued 
Extent of grove belts, 127, 

143 
Extinction possibilities, 138, 

145 
Fallen specimens, 136 
Flowers, 133 
Foliage, 132 
Form, 131, 132 
Fresno grove, 128, 146, 246 
Historic ditches and root- 
bowls, 137 
Kings River forest, 130, 131 
Largest tree in Kings River 

forest, 129 
Lightning effects, 146 
Majesty, 131, 133 
Mariposa grove, 128, 146, 

225, 241, 246 
Merced grove, 146, 225 
Northern groves, 128 
Post-glacial day of the spe- 
cies, 144 
Proportions, 130, 132 
Protection of Federal Gov- 
ernment, 146 
Relations to climate, soil 

and other trees, 138 
Seeds, 134 

Sequoia National Park, 128 
Service to mankind, 147 
Size of full-grown trees, 129 
Streams created by the se- 
quoias, 140 
Tuolumne grove, 146, 225 
Big Tuolumne Cafion, 16 



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276 



INDEX 



Big Tuolunine Cafion — Con- 
tinued 
Early trip through, from 
Hetch Hetohy Valley, 241 
Trip down the cafion, 220 
Big Tuolumne Cascades, 221 
Big Tuolumne Meadows, 180 
Birds, 158 

Bloom-months of the year, 156 
Boling, Major, his efforts to 
capture Yosemite Indians, 
231 • 
Bridal Veil Credc, 18 
Bridal Veil Pall, 10 
Rainbows, 38, 223 
Winds, fall greatly influ- 
enced by, 51 
Broeken Specter, 160 
Bronson Meadows, 240 
Budd Creek crossing, 208 
Bunell, I>r., named the To- 
semite Valley, 231 



Calaveras grove of Big Trees, 

120, 130 
Cafions 
Characteristics of, 6 
Depth of, 6 
Upper, 14 

See ali90 their names 
Cascade Creek Falls, 35 
Cathedral Lake, 200 
Cathedral Rocks, 13 

Excursion to, 208, 221 
Caucasus mountains, glacial 

action, 174 
Ceanothus, 151 
Cedar of Lebanon on moraine 

of ancient glacier, 04 
Cedar trees. See Trees 
Cemetery, Yosemite, 247 
Central Valley of California^ 

general view of, 5 
Clark, Galen, 240 
Daring and skill as a moun- 
taineer, 243 



Clark, Galen — Continued 
Fresno Biff Tree grove dis- 
covered by, 246 
Guardian of the Valley, 241 
Life prolonged by mountain 

air, 247 
Mariposa Big Tree grove, 

the first to explore, 245 
Personality, 246 
Tree-lover, 247 
Wawona cabin, 240 
Clark, Mount, 207 
Climate and weather, 42 
Difference between north 

and south sides, 43 
Snow, the first of the season, 

44 
Spring thaw, 44 
l&mperatures, 43 
Winter beauty, 45 
Winter storms, 51 
Clouds' Rest, 15 
Avalanche, annual, 64 
Excursion to, 201, 203, 208 
Clouds' Rest trail, 180, 208 
Comet forms of Yosemite Fall, 

28, 20, 57 
Conness, Mount, 16, 181, 210 
Conway, John, his effort to 
reach summit of South 
Dome, 167 
Coulterville, 240 
Coulterville road, 225 
Crane Flat, 240 
Crows, Clarke's, 150 
Cunningham, S. M., 236 
Cyprip^um, 140 



Dana Glacier, 208, 216 

Dana, Mount, 16, 180, 207 
Excursion to t^, 208, 214 
Views from summit, 215 

Deer Creek, 127 

Dog Lake, 222 

Dogwood trees, 01 



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INDEX 



2YY 



Dome Cascades, 15 

Douglas Spruce {Pseudotsuga 
DougkLsii), largest speci- 
mens, 88, 105 

Ducks, 161 

Dwarf Pine, or White Bark 
Pine (Pinu9 alUoauUB), 
122 

E 

Eagle Rode, 79 

Excursion to, 199, 200 
Eagles, golden, 162, 164 
Earthquake storms, 76 
£1 Gapitan Rock, 12 

Excursion to, 199, 200 

Snow avalanches, 63^ 
El Portal, 226, 236 
Eleanor Lake and San Fran- 
Cisco's destructive water 
supply scheme, 257 
Emerald Pool, 31, 32 
Excursions 

One-dav, 196, 199 

Three-day, 207 

Tuolumne Valley, Upper, 
209 

Two-day, 201, 204 

Various short trips, 222 



Pairview Dome 

Character of, 179 

Excursion to, 221 

Views from summit, 178, 
180 
Falls 

Bridal Veil, 10, 38, 51, 223 

Cascade Creek, 35 

niilouette, 196, 198, 204 

Nevada, 30, 31, 57, 196, 198, 
201, 203 

Royal Arch, 35, 37 

Tamarack Creek, 35 

Tenaya, 15, 35, 37, 89 

Tueeulala, 250 



Falls — Continued 
Vernal, 17, 32, 38, 196, 199, 

201, 203, 223 
Wapama, 252 

Winter storms, effects of, 57 
Yosemite, 13, 14, 21-23, 28, 
29, 38, 40, 51, 57, 188, 
195 
Yosemite Gorge, 35 
Fern Ledse, 28, 47 
Best point to observe lunar 
rainbows, 39, 40 
Ferns, 153 
Floods 
An extraordinary, 53 
Great flood of 1867, 239 
Flowers, 148 
Autumn in the Valley, 156 
Azalea, 151, 152 
Bloom-months, 156 
Ceanothus, 151, 152 
Common plants, 148 * 

Cvpripedium, 149 
Habenaria, 149 
Lilies, 149 
Manzanita, 151 
Orchids, 149 
Primrose, wild, <mly one in 

California, 149 
Shrubs, 151 < 
Snow planet, 149 
Washington lilv, most fra- 
grant of Valley flowers, 
150 
Forests. See Trees 
Fresno grove of Big Trees, 
128, 146, 246 

G 
Geese, 161 
General Grant National Pail^ 

146 
Gibbs, Mount, 181 
Glacial monuments of Sierra 

flner than in any other 

country, 173 
Glacial Period, 26, 174 



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278 



INDEX 



Glacier Point, 14, 31 
Excursion to, 196 
Views from, 196 
Glacier Point trail, 23 
Glaciers 
Ancient, 173 
Dana, 208, 216 
Discovery of the Sierra gla- 
ciers, 204, 206 
Early conditions in the 

Sierra, 174, 177, 179, 183 
First river-like glaciers, 175 
Hetch Hetchy \^lley, 181 
HofTman, 182, 184, 185, 186 
niilouette, 182, 190, 193, 

204 
Indian Gafion, 182 
LyeU, 219, 244 
Mcaure, 219, 244 
Merced, 182 
Nevada, 187, 189 
• Pohono, 182 
Polished pavements most 

striking phemmiena, 175 
Present ^kciers amonf 
peaks of High Sierra, 173 
Sentinel, 182 
South LyeU, 182 
Tenaya, 181, 185, 186 
Tuolumne, 179, 181, 

186, 219 
Tosemite Creek, 182, 
185 
Gorge between Ui^>er 
Lower Falls, 35^ 36 
Bainbows, 39 
Gray Mountain, 207 
Greenland, glacial action, 174 



Habenaria, 149 

Half Dome, 15, 34, 185 

Hetch Hetchy Vall^, 220, 

221, 249 
Correspondence to Tosemite 

VaUey, 253 



182, 
183, 
and 



Hetch Hetchy Valley — Con- 
tinued 
Destructive commercial 

scheme for San Francisco 
water supply, 257 
Discovery, 249 
Flowers, 254 
Kolana Mountain, 250 
Location, 249 
Trees, 254 
Tueeulala Fall, 250 
''Tuolumne Tosemite," 249 
Wapama Fall, 252 
Hetch Hetchy Valley Glacier, 

181 
Himalaya mountains, glacial 

action, 174 
History of the Vallqr, early, 

226 
Hite, G. A^ 236 
Hoffman Ghider, 182, 184, 

185,186 
Hoffman, Mount, 18, 20, 21, 
180 
Excursion to, 201, 210 
Views from summit, 202, 
203 
Hotels, earlv, 235 
Houses first built in Tosemite 

Valley, 235 
gumming-birds, 158 
Hutchings, J. M^ visited Val- 
ley In 1855, 235 
Hutchings Bridffe, 56 
Hutchings Hotel, 81 



Ice cone 

Dimensions, 50 

Exploring a cone, 47 

Formation of, 47, 48 
niilouette Cafion, 14 
nUlouette FaU 

Excursion to, 196, 198, 204 

fineness and richness of 
texture, 33 



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INDEX 



279 



lUilouette Fall -^ OofUitmed 
Inaccessibility, 14 
Reeembles the Nevada Fall, 

33 
Sunlight on falling water, 
fine effect of, 34 
lUilouette Glacier, 182, 190, 

193, 204 
Incense Cedar {LihooedruM de- 

ourrena), 87, 107 
Indian Glacier, 182 
Indians, 96, 177 
Fear of earthquakes, 81 
Mono tribe, 229, 233 
Paute tribe, 234 
Tuolumne tribe, 229 
Yosemite tribe, efforts to 
capture, 226, 231 
Inspiration Point, 223 
Inyo earthquake, 79 



Jays, SteUer's, 159, 164 
Jeifrey variety of the Yellow 

Pine, 103 
Junco or snow-bird, 159 
Juniper, or Red Cedar (Junf- 

perue oooidentalia) , 117 



Kaweah River, 127 

Keith, William, 259 

Kern glacier, 194 

Kingfishers, 161 

Kings River, 127 

Kings River forest of Big 

Trees, 130, 131 
Kings River Glacier, 194 
Koluia Mountain, 250 



Laces of Bridal Veil and Ne- 
vada Falls, 57 



Lakes, glacier, number of, in 

the Upper Cafions, 18 
Lambert Dome, excursion to, 

221 
Lamon 

Burial place, 239 

Personality, 239 

Pioneer settler in the Val- 
ley, 237 

Winter cabin, 84, 239 
Liberty Cap 

Excursion to, 196, 198 

Views from, 198 
Life prolonged by mountain 

a{r,24r 
LiUes, 149, 150 
Little Yosemite Valley, 17 
Longhurst, Mr., 235 
Lyefl Glacier, 219, 244 j, 
LyeU, Mount, 16, 17, 181 

Excursion to, 217 

Views from summit, 218 

M 

McClure Glacier, 219, 244 

McClure, Mount, 181 

Mann Brothers, 235 

Manzanita, 151 

Bdbiple Trees, 91 

Marble Creek, 128 

B£aripoea grove of Big Trees, 

128, 146, 225, 241, 245 
Mariposa trail, 240 
May liake, excursion to, 201, 

203 
Merced, 9, 236 
Merced Glacier, 182 
Merced grove of Big Trees, 

146, 225 
Merced Group, 197 
Merced Mountain, 197, 204 
Merced Riv^, 7, 8, 16, 17, 

20, 67 
Merced River Gallon, 236 
Mirror Lake, 15 
Excursion to, 222 



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280 



INDEX 



Mono Desert, 208 

Mono Lake, 16, 215, 219 

Mono trail, 20 

Moore, lieutenant^ his effort 
to capture Tosemite In- 
dians, 233 

Moraines 
Ancient, indicated by for- 

ests 04 95 
Illilouette Glacier, 191, 193, 

204 
Nevada Glacier, 189 

Mountain Hemlock (T9uga 
Mertentiana) , 120 

Mountain landscapes, forma- 
tion of, 18 

Mountain Pine {Pinua monti' 
cola), 115 

Muir Gorge, 242 

N 

Keal, J. H., 235 
Nevada Cafion, 14 
Nevada Fall 
Excursion to^ 196, 198, 201, 

203 
Height, 30 
Laces of, 57 
Near view, 31 
Ranks next to Tosemite 

Fall in interest, 30 
Whitest of all falls, 31 
Nevada Glacier, 187, 189 
Nevada Valley, 17 
North Dome, 14, 15, 185 
Norway, glacial acti<m, 174 
Nut Pine {Pinua attenuata), 

96 
Nut Pine (Pinua mono- 

phylla), 125 
Nut Pine {Pinua Sahiniana), 
95 



Oaks. See Trees 
Onion, species of, on summit 
of South Dome, 171 



Orchids, 149 
Ouzel, 158 

Appearance, 160 

Diving, 160 



Pacheco Pass, 5 

Pavements, polished glacier, 

175 
Peck, Mr., 235 
Pigeons, 161 
Pine tree music, 104 
Pine Trees. See Trees 
Pohono basin, 18 
Pohono Glacier, 182 
Polished glacier pavements, 

175 
Poplar {Populua trichooar- 

pa), 91 
Porcupine Flat, 201 
Primrose, wild, only one in 

California, 149 
Pyweak, Indian name of Lake 

Tenaya, 177 

R 

Railroad from Merced to bor- 
der of Park, 236 
Rainbows 
Beauty of, 11, 38, 223 
Best point to observe lunar, 

39 
Lunar, 39 
Range of Light, the Sierra 

Nevada Mountains, 5 
Raymond and Wawona road, 

225 
Red Cedar {Juniperua ocd- 

dentaUa), 90, 117 
Red Fir {Abiea magnifica), 

108 
Red Mountain, 205 

Views from summit, 207 
Ribbon Creek Basin, excur- 
sion to, 199, 200 



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INDEX 



281 



Ribbon FaU, 12 

Excursion to, 199, 200 
Ritter, Mount, 16 
Rivers, 67, 127 
Robins, 158, 160, 163 
Royal Arch Fall, 35, 37 
Royal Arches, 14, 197 

S 

San Francisco's destructive 
water supply scheme in 
the Hetch Hetchy Valley, 
267 
San Joaquin Glacier, 104 
Santa Clara Valley, 4 
Savage, Major, his efforts to 
capture the Yosemite In- 
dians, 226 
Screech, Joseph, said to have 
discovered Hetch Hetchy 
Vall^, 249 
Sentinel Uascades, 35, 37 
Sentinel Glacier, 182 
Sentinel Rock, 13 
Excursion to, 196 
Views from summit, 197 
Sequoia National Park, 128, 

146 
Shadows, moimtain forms and 

snow banners, 75 
Shrubs, 151 
Sierra Cathedral, 16 
Sierra Nevada Mountains 
Distant view of, 5 
Range of Light, 5 
Silver Fir {Abies oonoolor), 

90, 108 
Silver Fir (Abies magmfUn), 

108 
Snow 
First of the season, 44 
Indian-summer, 45 
Snow banners, 70 
Formation, 75 
General view, 73, 74 



Snow banners — Ccniinued, 
Perfect ones seldom pro- 
duced, 71 
Snow-bird, 150 
Snow plant, much admired by 

tourists, 149 
Snow storms, 61 
Soda Springs, 17, 208, 210, 

213 
South Dome, 166 
Anderson gained summit in 

1875, 166, 167 
Ascent of, in November, 168 
Conway, John, his effort to 

reach the summit, 167 
Glacial hieroglyphics, 172 
Inaccessibility, 166 
Most sublime feature of all 

Tosemite views, 171 
Onion, species of, on sum- 
mit, 171 
Saddle, 166 

Specter of the Brocken, 169 
Vegetation on summit, 170 
Views from summit of, 169, 
171 
South Lyell Glacier, 182 
Specter of the Brocken, 169 
Spring floods, 51 
Spring thaw, 44 
Starr King, 171, 192, 197 
Steller's jays, 159, 164 
Storms, 51, 61, 76 
Streams created by sequoias, 

140 
Sugar Pine {Pinus Lamber- 
tiana), king of pine 
trees, 97 
Sunli^t on falling water, fine 
iSfect of, at Illilouette 
FaU, 34 
Sunrise from top of Mounts 
Hoffman and I^ma, 203, 
208 
Sunrise trail, 208 
Switzerland, glacial action. 
174 



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INDEX 



Taluses, avalanche, origin of, 

76, 79 
Tamarack Creek Falls, 35 
Temperatures, 43 
Tenaya, Yosemite Indian 

chief, 13, 227, 232, 236 
Tenaya Gafion, 14, 15, 37 
Tenaya Cascade, 15, 35 
Tenaya Creek, 37 
Tenaya Fall, 15, 35, 37, 80 
Tenaya Glacier, 181, 185, 186 
Tenaya Lake, 16, 177, 207 
Excursion to, 201, 203, 207, 
210 
Three Brothers Mountain, 13 
Tioga wagon-road, 201, 207, 

208 
Tissiack or Half Dome, most 
beautiful of Yosemite 
rocks, 14 
Tourists to the Valley, Bum- 

ber, 237 
Trees 
Arransement indicates an- 

cient moraines, 94, 95 
Big Tree {Sequoia gigan- 

tea), 127, 225 
California live-oak {Quer- 

ou$ agrifolia), 89 
California Nutmeg {Tor- 

reya calif omioa), 92 
Climbing the Yellow Pine 

in wind storms, 87 
Distribution, general order 

of, 93, 94 
Dogwood, 91 

Douglas Spruce {Pseudot- 
Buga Douglasii), 88, 105 
Dwarf Fine, or White Bark 
Pine {Pinus albioaulis), 
122 
Forest trees in general, 93 
Incense Cedar {Lihooedrua 
deowrrma), 87, 107 



Trees — Continued 

Jeffrey variety of the Yel- 
low Pine, 103 

Juniper, or Bed Cedar 
{Juniperua oooidentaUs) , 
117 

Maples, 91 

Mountain Hemlock (Tauga 
Mertenaiana) , 120 

Mountain live-oak {Quercua 
chryaolepia) , 89 

Mountain Pine {Pinua mon- 
tioola), 115 

Nut Pine {Pinua attenu- 
ata), 96 

Nut Pine {Pinua mono- 
phylla), 125 

Nut Pine {Pif^ia Sabini- 
ana), 95 y 

Pines on summit of South 
Dome, 170 

Poplar {Populua tricho- 
oarpa), 91 

Red Cedar {Juniperua oo- 
oidentalia), 90, 117 

Red Fir {Ahiea magnifioa), 
108 

Silver Fir {Ahiea eon- 
color), 90, 108 

Silver Fir {Ahiea magni- 
fioa), 108 

Sugar Pine {Pinua Lam- 
bertiana), king of pine 
trees, 97 

Sugar pines few, 87 

Two-Leaved Pine {Pinua 
oontorta, var. Murray- 
ana), 112 

Valley trees, 87 

Wind music of the Yellow 
Pine, 104 

Yellow, or Silver, Pine 
{Pinua ponderoaa), 87, 
101 

Yosemite Pine, 103 
Tueeulala Fall, 250 



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INDEX 



283 



Tule River, 127 
Tuolumne Cafion, 18 
Tuolumne Glacier, 170, 181, 

182, 186, 210 
Tuolumne Glacier Monument, 

178 
Tuolumne grove of Big Trees, 

146, 225 
Tuolumne Meadows, 178, 207, 

212 
Tuolumne River, 16, 180, 211 
Tuolumne Valley, 16, 258 

Excursion to Upper, 200 
Tuolumne Yosemite, name 

given to Hetch Hetchy 

Valley, 240 
Two-Leaved Pine {Pinus con- 

torta, var. Murrayana) , 

112 



Vernal Fall 

Approach to, 17 

Excursion to, 106, 100, 201, 
203 

Height, 32 

Near view of, 32 

Rainbows, 38, 223 

Staid, orderly fall, 32 
Virginia Creek trail, 220 

W 

Wapama Fall, 252 

Washington Column, 14 

Washington lily, most fra- 
grant of Valley flowers, 
150 

Waterfall flood, an extraordi- 
nary, 53 

Water-ouzel. See Ouzel 

Watkins, Mount, 15 

Watkins trail, 15 

Wawona, 225, 240 

Weather. See Climate and 
weather 



Wind musio of the Yellow 

Pine, 104 
Winds, influence of, on falls, 

51 
Winter beauty of the Valley, 

45 
Winter bird life, 150, 163 
Winter storms, 51 
Woodpeckers, 150, 161 



Yellow, or Silver, Pine {Pinus 

ponderoaa), 87, 101 
Yosemite Creek 
General views of basin, 10 
Width, depth and average 
fall, 20 
Yosemite Creek Glacier, 182, 

183, 185 
Yosemite earthquake, 79 
Yosemite Fall 

Comet forms, 28, 20, 57 
Excursion to Upper fall, 109 
Formation, effect of Yo- 
semite Creek Glacier, 185 
Grandeur of, 28 
Moon seen through, 40 
Most wonderful of its kind 

in the world, 14 
Near view, the best, 28 
Rainbows, 38 
Source, 21 
Thunder of, 13, 29 
Unexpected night adven- 
ture, 40 
Upper and Lower falls, 23 
Views from above, 22 
Voice, the richest and most 

powerful, 13, 20 
Winds, influence of, 51 
Yosemite Falls trail, 200, 201 
Yosemite Glacier, 13, 16, 24 
Yosemite Gorge Fall and Cas- 
cades, 35 
Yosemite National Park, es- 
tablishment of, 236, 240 



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384 INDEX 

Tosemite Valley Tosemite Valley — Continued 

Approach to, 9 Named hj Vt. Bunell, 231 

Afloent of the Valley, 23 Natural features near, 17 

Discovery of, 226, 230 Situation and size, 7 

First view: the Bridal Temple, its likeness to, 8 

Veil, 10 Tourists, first, 1855, 235 

Formati<m of, by Glaciers, Tourists, present number, 

173 237 • 

General features, 12 Tosemite Valley railroad 

History, early, 226 from Merced to border of 

Houses first built, 236 Park, 236 
Name, Indian, 231 



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APR 7 - 1953 



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